The Skinny on Focus Modes

This is something a lot of beginner photographers struggle with, but not you.

If you have ever taken a photo of something still, like a person standing in front of you and you found the focus going in and out repeatedly. You will see that it is frustrating because you do not even know what is going on.

That is why you need to learn the focus modes, and there are three of them.

One Shot/AF-S:

If you want to take a photo of something in front of you, you want to use One Shot. On Canon cameras, it is called One Shot, but on Nikon and most other cameras, it is called AutoFocus-Single (AF-S).

What it does is it will focus once then it will take a photo when you put the shutter down. It will not refocus until you grab your finger off the shutter. It is the way to get a sharp image of a still-life object.

TIP: Listen to the camera’s focus lens; you will notice there is no much movement in One Shot/AF-S mode.

AI Servo/AF-C:

What about when you are taking a photo of something that is moving? For that situation, you want to use Auto Focus-Continuous (AF-C) or AI Servo on a Canon camera.

What this does do? It will focus on your subject. Such as a marathon runner and as the runner moves, the camera will keep refocusing between photos. Obviously, you will want to be on a continuous moving mode.

It is the perfect mode when you are shooting something that is moving, and you want to have a clear photo every single time.

AI Focus/AF-A:

The default camera focus mode, it will choose between the two previous focus modes. If it thinks your subject is still, it will select the AF-S mode, if it thinks your subject is moving it will switch to AF-C mode, automatically.

Last but not least, there is of course so much to learn about photography, but do not quit learning and applying what you learn.

Aperture and Manual Modes

Aperture Mode:

It works pretty much the same as the shutter speed mode. You set the aperture, and the camera will fix the shutter speed the way it should be.

For example, if you are shooting a landscape and you want a nice, deep, and clear photo, so you set a high aperture number to maybe f11 or f16. The camera will automatically arrange the shutter speed to have a good exposure.

There are plenty of circumstances where you would use both priority modes.

Manual Mode:

As you can imagine, Manual mode gives you full control. You set the shutter speed, the aperture, and the ISO. You will find that you use each mode equally most of the time.

The great thing about the manual mode is it gives you that full control because your camera is not always right.

Manual mode helps you get the perfect exposure. As you grow as a photographer, you will find that you use manual mode more often. If you shoot on old film cameras, use manual mode, it is a great way to learn photography.

When manual mode is most useful?

Manual mode is used in a gig setting. If you are at the comfort of your own home (perhaps doing some spring cleaning, there’s probably no need for this. If you are at a concert taking photos, the lighting will constantly be changing. Getting the perfect exposure will be difficult.

How to capture the perfect exposure when you are shooting in manual mode?

  • You will need to set your camera to manual mode.
  • Set the exposure to exactly what you think how it would be when the lightning is up.
  • Automatically take many photos at a high shutter speed.

Now you know that when the lightning does come up, you will have the perfect exposure set and it will capture exactly what you want.

Who cares if you get many dark photos? It is digital you can delete them.

Shutter Speed Mode: An Introduction

What exactly does a shutter speed mode do? You can set the shutter speed, and the camera will automatically resolve the aperture.

It’s like a semi-manual mode. You do half of the work, and the camera does the other half. You also set the ISO to whatever you want it to be.

For example, if you set the ISO to 400 and you want to take a photo in one or two-hundredths of a second. Your camera will automatically work out that the aperture should be 5.6. You don’t have to worry about the aperture because you are only focusing on the shutter mode.

When to use shutter mode?

A great example is if you have a fast-moving car going past your camera, and you want to capture it without any motion blur. You just set your shutter speed all the way up to a thousandth of a second and the ISO to whatever you want.

Now, you do not have to worry about the aperture because the car is coming quickly and you do not have the time. The camera will automatically adjust the aperture for you.

Here’s How to Take Better Photos

When you start with photography, your camera will confuse you. There are three dials, many buttons, joysticks, and switches on your camera. It’s quite a complicated piece of kit when you don’t know where to start.

But, as soon as you start to learn what some of these functions do, your photography will continue to grow and improve. And you will take much better photos. This is what this article is all about, and we are going to start off talking about your shooting modes.

Shooting Modes

Looking at the top of your camera, you probably see 12 or 13 shooting modes. You will only use three of them, just three. The rest of them will not give you the control you want over your camera.

What are the priority modes?

Shutter speed mode.

Aperture mode.

Manual mode.

In this blog we’ll aim to demystify the art of photography.