The latest smartphones are kitted out with pretty phenomenal cameras. Chances are if you aim and shoot you’re bound to get a great-quality snap - but are you really making the most of all the modes available? If you're a little sketchy on what each mode does and when to use it, this article will give you the bigger picture in a flash.
Auto Mode / Photo
This is your camera’s default setting, and it’s a dependable one because it makes all of your decisions for you. And, if you’re the owner of a new-fangled smartphone, it probably has Intelligent Auto Mode, which analyses the scene you’re capturing and figures out the best setting for you. Auto Mode also cleverly works out whether you need a flash while setting the right lighting - so you get the best exposure.
Auto mode really shines when you’re trying to highlight close-up detail in a subject. So, for example, if you wanted to take a picture of an important document or a product to sell online, Auto Mode should probably be your go-to. Although the picture might not look totally Instagram worthy (without a filter of course), it’ll give you an accurate and in-depth view of what you’re snapping.
The clue’s in the name – yes, Portrait Mode (or the bokeh effect) is mainly used for taking pictures of people. It selects colour settings, depth of field, and uses an ultra-fast shutter speed to make sure your subject isn’t blurry. On newer handsets like the iPhone Xs, you can even control the depth of field, creating a blurrier background to really put your subject in the spotlight. It also gives your photos a super professional look.
Sure, Portrait Mode is awesome at taking snaps of people and animals when you want them to be the main focus, but it also works amazingly for objects too. Let’s say you’re tucking into a spectacular-looking brunch al fresco – a lovely blurry background of your sunny surroundings will take your food shot to new heights.
Pro Mode / Burst Mode
If you’re a bit of photography whiz, Pro Mode (which is available on most new Samsung phones) is where it’s at. You can tweak all of the settings that are important to you, putting you in charge of your photos. Not up with all that photography lingo? Have a play around. Try a lower setting on your ISO if your shot’s too bright – or take off your Auto Focus and decide how close or far you want your subject.
If you’re in a dark setting and in need of a better exposure, Pro Mode is exactly what you’re looking for. Also, its Burst Mode works a treat when you’re shooting moving objects. So, if you’re taking a candid photo of your kid scoring their first goal in Burst Mode, you can go back and pick out the best shot to send to all of your contacts.
Sometimes you’re not able to showcase the sheer beauty of a view unless you’re able to capture the full view. That’s where your Panorama setting comes in. Capturing ultra-wide shots is a superb way to mix up your photography skill set. Plus, most smartphones today offer a Panorama option.
Just sweep from one side of the view to the other while holding down the capture button, and you’ll get every glorious inch in the frame.
Monochrome Mode is there for when you’re feeling a touch more artistic. Create black and white images either directly with the sensor or when you’re adding a filter afterwards. It takes your coloured photo and uses the brightness to create much more depth and give your pic a real retro feel.
Monochrome works best when you’re taking pictures of people, particularly close-ups of faces. If you’re creating a personalised birthday card for someone special, a Monochrome image can work wonders.
Have we left your preferred mode off the list? Which one works best for you? Let us know in the comments below.