Automatic Mode: Auto mode tells your camera to use it’s best judgement to select shutter speed, aperture, ISO, white balance, focus and flash to take the best shot that it can. This mode will give you nice results in many shooting conditions, however you need to keep in mind that you’re not telling your camera any extra information about the type of shot you’re taking so it will be ‘guessing’ as to what you want.
Portrait Mode: Portrait mode works best when you’re photographing a single subject so get in close enough to your subject so that your photographing the head and shoulders of them). Also if you’re shooting into the sun you might want to trigger your flash to add a little light onto their face.
Macro Mode: Macro mode lets you move your closer into your subject to take a close up. It’s great for shooting flowers, insects or other small objects.
Landscape Mode: This mode is almost the exact opposite of portrait mode in that it sets the camera up with a small aperture to make sure as much of the scene you’re photographing will be in focus as possible. It’s therefore ideal for capturing shots of wide scenes, particularly those with points of interest at different distances from the camera.
Sports Mode: Photographing moving objects is what sports model is designed for. It is ideal for photographing any moving objects including people playing sports, pets, cars, wildlife etc.
Night Mode: This is a really fun mode to play around with and can create some wonderfully colorful and interesting shots. Night mode is for shooting in low light situations and sets your camera to use a longer shutter speed to help capture details of the background but it also fires off a flash to illuminate the foreground.
Movie Mode: This mode extends your digital camera from just capturing still images to capturing moving ones. Most new digital cameras these days come with a movie mode that records both video but also sound.
Aperture Priority Mode: This mode is really a semi-automatic mode where you choose the aperture and where your camera chooses the other settings so as to ensure you have a well balanced exposure. Aperture priority mode is useful when you’re looking to control the depth of field in a shot.
Shutter Priority Mode: Shutter priority is very similar to aperture priority mode but is the mode where you select a shutter speed and the camera then chooses all of the other settings. You would use this mode where you want to control over shutter speed.
Program Mode: Some digital cameras have this priority mode in addition to auto mode. In those cameras that have both, Program mode is similar to Auto but gives you a little more control over some other features including flash, white balance, ISO etc. Check your digital camera’s manual for how the Program mode differs from Automatic in your particular model.
Manual Mode: In this mode you have full control over your camera and need to think about all settings including shutter speed, aperture, ISO, white balance, flash etc. It gives you the flexibility to set your shots up as you wish.