Hopefully you have been out and about taking some great pictures with your new camera, and the ideas shown in the first guide on Composition have helped you to take some interesting and engaging photos.
In this guide we are going to look a little closer at the camera itself and check out a few features and settings that you can use to improve your pictures even more.
Once you have read though this guide we hope you will be inspired to take some even more creative pictures. Don’t forget to share your results on the Canon Facebook page using #MyNewCanon #CanonSceneModes.
In the last guide on composition we suggested the “green square” on the Shooting Mode Dial as a good starting point to using your camera. This mode (official title “Scene Intelligent Auto” mode) sets your camera to fully automatic; all the decisions on what settings to use are made for you. (see Scene Modes)
Your camera does a great job on Auto. But there will be occasions that the camera doesn’t capture the scene exactly how you intended. For these instances it is useful to know how to switch away from Auto and to take more control of your EOS.
Scene Modes are a great way to start telling your camera what subject you are trying to capture. They can be found by rotating the Shooting Mode Dial to one of the icons. (see Creative Shooting Modes)
Switching the camera to the Portrait Scene Mode produces an attractive skin tone and blurs the background, which concentrates the focus on the subject. (see Shoot by Ambience Selection)
For example, if you want to take a picture of a friend or family member, turn the dial to “Portrait”. This instructs the camera to adjust settings to be more pleasing for portrait photography; such as blurring the background to make the subject standout and adjusting the colour and tone of the image for natural skin and hair.
This sequence of images used the ‘Sports’ Scene Mode to continually focus on the moving subject and take a series of shots as the shutter was held down. Alternatively, you could try using the ‘Shooting Kids’ Special Scene Mode (see below).
Similarly, when photographing subjects that move, turn the Scene Mode Dial to “Sports Mode”. This tells the camera to focus quickly and allows you to hold your finger on the shutter for continuous rapid-fire shooting. Try using this mode when photographing children, people playing sports or pets playing and when you are on the move yourself, such as shooting from a train window.
Now you have seen the benefits of moving your camera off Auto mode why don’t you try setting your own picture features based on your subject? If you like having lots of background blur here is where you can control that.
Set the mode dial to “CA” or Creative Auto Shooting. Then use the “Q” button on the back of the camera to access the menu. Here you can adjust “Ambience” - the colour and tone; “background blur” - how much of the background is in focus and “drive/self timer” - instruct the camera to shoot multiple frames. (see Taking group shots)
Increasing the background blur in the second image focuses the attention on the main subject in this case the statue.
As well as the Scene Modes on the Mode dial you can turn the dial to SCN: Special Scene Mode. Again, using the Q button to access the menu you can choose a number of extra scene settings that may be suitable for your shooting subject. (see A closer look)
To get a better idea of how each function affects your image, switch to Live View mode and use the Q button to scroll through each menu. Using Live View will give you a real time view of the changes. Alternatively explore the EOS Companion app for full descriptions of each option and how to locate them. Find out more on your companion app EOS 1200D EOS 100D
Adjusting the scene and ambient light settings can enrich colours and produce more vivid sunsets
Taking control of your camera is very satisfying and also helps you take better pictures. Together you and your camera can achieve great pictures and understanding its functions and learning how to control them will help you a lot in the steps ahead.
There are several Scene Modes to choose from, including Close-up, Sports, Portrait and Landscape.
Your camera can also operate in partial or fully manual modes, known as the “Creative Shooting Modes”. In these modes you will have access to all your cameras functions and settings. Moving away from Auto will introduce you to the more technical aspects of your camera such as Shutter Speed, Aperture and ISO. If you choose to use these modes it’s a good idea to familiarise yourself with these terms and what they do. We will cover more on this in later guides.
If you have a handy platform to rest the camera on, you can use the menu to activate the self-timer. For a sequence try the “Continuous” option, set between 2-10 shots, which will fire 10 seconds after you press the shutter. Don’t forget to let your group know there will be plenty of shots to pose for!
A great way to see how each mode and function affects your picture is to take a series of images varying the settings for each shot. Put your camera on a tripod or in steady place so that the images are easier to compare. Download the images and compare them on a computer screen where the differences will be more visible.
Find somewhere interesting for a photo and take a couple of shots, one on the auto setting and one using a Scene Mode. Which do you prefer? Then share that with us with #MyNewCanon #CanonSceneModes telling us the setting it was taken on. You can also look back at the Composition pages to see how your photos compare with your previous ones and see how you’re improving as a photographer.