You don’t take a photograph, you make it – Ansel Adams

How many of us have expensive cameras without even running them on its full potential?…………I know, I was in the same boat but if there is a will, there is a way!

I bought my new camera and was quite frustrated for not being able to operate it manually, but after searching the massive influx of information, I was finally able to get rid of my “Auto Mode” and during the process I found some uncomplicated materials which made my self learning enjoyable rather exasperating, so if you are a greenhorn like me and want to get rid of your auto mode, please follow along;

Step 1. Understand the basics

Before I explain the concept, please go through the links basic controlshow to set up the camera to understand the basics and switch back to move further.

Step 2. What is ISO and Exposure? 

ISO is simply a camera setting that brightens or darken your photo. If you are out in the sunlight you may require minimum ISO which is “100 or 200” depends on your camera model but if you are inside the building with limited light, you need a higher ISO, say 800 to 1600, basically it depends on the light visibility that how much ISO is required but it’s always wise to keep it balanced because too much ISO can ruin the picture quality by implementing grain and noise.

For example, a football team is playing under the sunlight and you want to capture them so you can set ISO based o different scenarios like if;

a. The team is playing in the morning – ISO 100 – 200 (lowest) is sufficient.

b. The team is playing mid-morning or mid-afternoon – ISO 400 should work fine.

c. The team is playing while sunset or sunrise or inside the building – ISO 800 – 1600 is a good balance.

d. The team is playing before the sun rises or after the sunset – you could use maximum ISO Possible.

Exposure is denoted by (+/-) sign, it is the duration for which the film or digital sensor inside the camera is exposed to the light. The correct combination of Aperture, Shutter Speed and ISO gives you the right exposure and this is called the exposure triangle.  

Step 3. The Modes and why we use it?

I’m using the example of Nikon D5600 but don’t hesitate if you have any other camera as it’s almost the same except the terms like AV (Aperture) and TV (Shutter speed) in canon. NIKON D5600 has eight different modes such as Scene mode, Auto mode, Auto without flash mode, Effects mode, Manual (M) mode, Aperture (A) mode, Shutter (S) mode, and Programme (P) mode.

Auto mode (Auto): I call this “super easy mode”…..while on auto mode, Just switch on the camera, zoom in or out, focus and “click”, as simple as it sounds because everything is taken care by the camera, but the drawback is that pictures can be simply meh!!

Auto mode without flash In case you want “meh”! pictures but without the flash… 😀

Programme Mode (P): Program mode is a bit more flexible than Auto mode as it gives the full control over ISO and white balance, which is unavailable in Auto mode.

Scene Mode: This mode allows you to select the predefined scenes for a particular type of photography, for example, if you want to capture a beautiful landscape, select the landscape scene, and the camera will automatically shift the settings for the landscape…easy right…it is!!

Effects Mode: I call this a “fun mode”, it’s kind of an Instagram filter where you can give different effects to your pictures…..These effects are pretty self-explanatory so just play around and I’m sure you’ll get it!

Aperture Mode (A):  This mode is used for portrayed photography and denoted by the F stop number. It allows you to change the aperture, and the camera will change the shutter speed for you, basically, it blurs the background while focusing on the subject.

Again, Imagine you’re in a football stadium and you got the opportunity to capture your favorite player so you’ll zoom in the lens, decrease the F stop number to the lowest (whatever your camera’s lowest) and it will ignore the other player by focusing only on your favorite player, which means you have selected the shallow depth of field (DoF), now adjust the ISO or exposure if needed and click.

Now in the same scenario, you want to capture all the players, therefore, you have a broader focus, which means a deep depth of field, this time you’ll increase the f stop number by focusing multiple subjects, zoom out the lens, adjust the ISO if needed and click…now you’ll get all the players sharp in the picture with no background blur.

Shutter speed Mode (S): This mode allows you to change the shutter speed and the camera will take care of the aperture, it is used to capture moving objects, like car, motorcycle, waterfall etc and denoted by the seconds (min 1/4000, max 30″ seconds), for example, the fast shutter speed 1/250 second will give you the clear picture of a moving object while low shutter speed like 1″ second will blur the object…simple!

Manual Mode: This mode allows you to control both the Aperture & Shutter Speed.

Now imagine you are in the same football stadium, however this time, the game has been started and your subject is moving fast, now you’ll adjust both, the shutter speed for moving the subject, and the aperture for focus…Also, you may have to adjust the ISO based on light visibility. so overall you can adjust all the parameters as per your choice except the exposure. In short, all power to you!


While in Aperture mode – you can’t change the shutter speed but ISO and exposure.

In Shutter Speed mode-  you can’t change the aperture but ISO and Exposure.

In Manual mode- you can change both the aperture and shutter speed including ISO and other settings.

program mode – you can’t change aperture and shutter speed but ISO and exposure.

I guess that’s it!! This post is just to give you an idea about how the function works, and I know it’s just a simple explanation without much of technical detail, but once you understand the gist, you can easily grab what the technical gurus are trying to elaborate.

here is the link which can help you to understand further.

Though I’m not a pro in this subject, if you need further help, please don’t hesitate to write back at


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