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Using Automated Settings on a DSLR

By Phineas Upham

You might think that the purpose of a DSLR is to utilize the manual settings, which help you capture incredible photographs. The manual setting can be quite useful, but it’s not the only solution for photography. Manual settings take time to calibrate, and without proper equipment (like a light reader) you’ll have a difficult time getting the kind of photograph you want. Automatic settings allow everyone, from beginner to advanced, to capture unique photographs.

Automatic Mode

Fully automated mode (which is typically designated as a green “A” on your camera’s mode-selector dial), handles most of the heavy lifting for you. Pictures in this mode can look a bit washed out if the flash activates, so it might benefit you to shoot in “No Flash Automatic”, which is sometimes accessed via a sub menu within automatic mode.


Scene modes are the ones you’ll use the most, and each symbol gives you some clue as to what it does. On the Canon Rebel T3i, a small flower is used to denote macro shots while a mountain is used to denote landscape shots.

Each of these settings is built to give you a particular kind of shot. Landscape will help preserve depth in the photo, while setting the lighting conditions on your camera right to preserve color. Macros might come out dark if you don’t have immaculate lighting, but you get proper depth of field and focus.

Try and use the setting that applies to the photos you want to take. You can clean up whatever is left over in post production, making your picture appear more vibrant and sharper.

Phineas Upham is an investor from NYC and SF. You may contact Phin on his Phineas Upham website or Twitter page.