Common digital camera scene modes


Digital cameras offer a variety of useful modes that are optimized for specific scenes and photographic conditions. Scene modes are preprogrammed by the manufacturer to automatically give the best exposure and settings for each scene.

When selected, a scene mode can often give better results than shooting in a standard full automatic mode. Some digital cameras have an Intelligent Auto mode that analyzes the type of scene and shooting conditions you’re photographing and then automatically selects the scene mode.

Type of scene modes

Backlight – eliminates dark shadows when light is coming from behind a subject, or when the subject is in the shade. The built-in flash automatically fires to “fill in” the shadows.

Beach/Snow – photograph beach, snow and sunlit water scenes. Exposure and white balance are set to help prevent the scene from becoming washed out looking.

Fireworks – shutter speed and exposure are set for shooting fireworks; pre-focusing & use of tripod recommended.

Landscape – take photos of wide scenes. Camera automatically focuses on a distant object. [Landscape photography]

Macro – take close-up shots of small objects, flowers and insects. Lens can be moved closer to the subject than in other modes. Hold the camera steady or use a tripod.

Night Portrait – take photos of a subject against a night scene. The built-in flash and red-eye reduction are enabled; shutter-speeds are low. Use of tripod recommended.

Night Scene – photograph nightscapes. Preprogrammed to use slow shutter speeds. Use of tripod recommended.

Party – take photos in a dim lit room; exposure and shutter speed are automatically adjusted for room brightness. Captures indoor background lighting or candlelight. Hold the camera very steady when using this mode.

Portrait – main subject is clearly focused and the background is out of focus (has less depth of field). Best when taking shots outside during the day. Shoot using a mid to long telephoto lens, stand close to your subject within the recommended camera range. When possible, select an uncomplicated background that is far from the subject. [Portrait photography]

Sports (also called Kids & Pets)- take photos of a fast moving subject; fast shutter speeds “freeze” the action. Best when taking photos bright light; pre-focusing recommended. [Sports and Action photography]

Sunset – take photos of sunsets and sunrises; helps keep the deep hues in the scene.

Aquarium – selects ISO, white balance and color balance to photograph fish and other items in an indoor aquarium.

Foliage – photographs autumn, garden and similar scenes in vivid colors.