Camera shooting modes: Part 1 – Full Auto

If you have a dSLR, or an adjustable compact digital camera, your camera probably has an external dial that looks something like the one in this photo. There are a lot of symbols and letters on that dial. In this post you’ll learn about the Green or Auto shooting mode, and in future posts you’ll learn about P, A, T and M.

Beware the Green square of death! (Auto, or Green square)

If you’ve been in my classroom or taken any of my online courses, you know I preach about the green square of death! I know that I have scared the daylights out of you about using that shooting mode, for good reason.

When you use this fully automatic mode, the camera is no longer your tool.

It becomes your brain. It does all the thinking for you. Granted there are times when you may not want to think about anything, but chances are if you’re reading this blog, you DO want to think and you DO want to have creative control over your photos.

In this Green mode the camera brain decides your ISO, your white balance, and whether or not you should use the flash. Usually that’s not a good thing. It also decides what f-stop and shutter speed you need, but that can be handy. Exposure compensation doesn’t usually work in this mode.

When should you use the Green or Auto camera mode?

Perhaps it’s Christmas eve and you’ve just opened your prezzies and you got a new camera. You’ve just had a big meal, maybe a little wine, and you are in no mood to read the manual. Hit that ON switch baby, and fire away in the Green mode. You don’t want to lose those holiday memories. (But after that, you’re cut off!)

In the next posts, you’ll be learning when to use the other shooting modes like Program, Shutter priority and Aperture priority.


Let me know in the comments what shooting mode you use the most, and why!

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