What basic camera settings should I use?

Question by Jody: What basic camera settings should I use?
So I am just learning about my new camera and I often don’t know what scene option to pick. I have sports, beach, landscape, macro, etc,

As an example. I went on a very bright sunny day to take pictures of elephant seals from up on a cliff. I have to zoom in pretty close. Now should I have the settings on “pet” mode since they’re animals moving? Landscape to get the whole pic in focus? It’s so bright though so with deep shadows so maybe I need backlight correction mode? Or portrait mode since I am getting close ups of their faces. Can you help? I was at a loss but when I got home the pics were to bright a bit, deeper shadows than I wanted on the face. I have manual mode but I barely know how to use it.

You can see some of the problems I had here:


Would appreciate advice.

Best answer:

Answer by selina_555
Bright sun and deep shadows are a problem even with a GOOD camera and even for experienced photographers.

However, in general, here is what to do to improve your photography:

Learn about your camera !!!!

Read your manual !!!! Read it several times, and practice in between. If you don’t have a book, download a new one from the manufacturer’s website. Try to move away from the auto modes (that includes the scene modes) – in time, with some learning, YOU will know better than a little camera does, and YOU will make better decisions than it can.

Attend a class, read some books, read/watch online tutorials.

The major camera manufacturers (like Canon, Nikon, Olympus etc) all have very useful sections on their website for learning about photography.





Understanding at least the basic principles of photography (as well as being familiar with your camera) will enable you to make the most of your gear, and will make a HUGE difference to your images.

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