Camera shooting modes: Part 1 – Full Auto

camera mode dial

The Camera Mode Dial is full of letters and symbols.

If you have a dSLR, or an adjustable compact digital camera, your camera probably has an external camera mode 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.

One exception – Any Lumix camera’s iA (Intelligent Auto) mode is very good at judging white balance and exposure settings. This is one mode I DO like to use and I DO TRUST it to do a decent job 90% of the time. Read more on that here.

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!)

Read the next posts:

Part 2 – Program Mode

Part 3 – Shutter and Aperture priority mode


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