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Scene modes and in-camera processing

From: Foundations of Photography: Exposure

Video: Scene modes and in-camera processing

Aperture, shutter speed, and ISO. You've seen how these three parameters give you control over brightness and depth of field, motion control, tonality. They are simply exposure. You've also seen a number of ways of controlling all of these parameters, but there might still be a few more items on your mode dial. These are scene modes. Scene modes typically have icons representing specific type of scenes. For example, you might have landscape, portrait, night shooting, sports. These are all automatic modes, similar to program mode.

Scene modes and in-camera processing

Aperture, shutter speed, and ISO. You've seen how these three parameters give you control over brightness and depth of field, motion control, tonality. They are simply exposure. You've also seen a number of ways of controlling all of these parameters, but there might still be a few more items on your mode dial. These are scene modes. Scene modes typically have icons representing specific type of scenes. For example, you might have landscape, portrait, night shooting, sports. These are all automatic modes, similar to program mode.

When you shoot with a scene mode, you still need to half-press your shutter button to focus, meter and white- balance, wait till the camera beeps, and then press the button rest of the way to take your shot. But in a scene mode, the camera biases its exposure decisions for a specific type of scene. For example, in landscape mode, the camera will lean towards smaller apertures for deeper depth of field. In portrait mode, it will bias towards wider apertures to blur up a background behind your subject. In sports mode, it will aim for faster motion-stopping shutter speeds.

Scene modes typically force you to shoot JPEG files, and sometimes scene modes will even add a little bit of image processing to your images. For example, your camera's portrait scene mode might add a little bit of warming to your images to make flesh tones look better. After everything you have been through in this course, you are most likely beyond scene modes by now. You are probably used to a finer degree of control. And if you have started shooting RAW, then you'll probably want to avoid scene modes, simply because they force you to JPEG files. If you are working with a small point-and-shoot that lacks manual controls, then scene modes are probably the only manual overrides that you have.

And you probably got gobs of them. You've probably got a scene mode for shooting by candlelight, shooting at dusk, shooting fireworks. Check out your camera's manual to find out exactly what these scene modes do. No matter what you are shooting with, if you are still not completely comfortable with some of the concepts we have been covering in this course, then scene modes might be a nice crutch if you find yourself having to shoot quickly in a scene that your camera provides a special mode for. Now buried somewhere in you camera's menu system you might also find some image- processing controls of some kind. These will be usually be sliders for dialing in contrast, saturation, sharpness. Or you might find a menu of options for different looks for your images: neutral, saturated, warm.

When you are shooting JPEG images, these options give you some control over the image processing that the camera applies to the image. Now these controls have no affect on RAW images, and they actually have nothing to do with exposure. So if you see a slider that says contrast, know that that setting in no way alters your camera's light meter or affects its shutter speed and aperture choices; instead, that option tells the camera to add more or less contrast after the image has been taken. It's just like increasing contrast in your image editor. On some cameras, you can use special software on your computer to build image- processing profiles that are extremely refined.

You can, for example, dial in very subtle color and contrast edits. These features are specially nice for wedding shooters and other people who need to quickly deliver huge numbers of images, and so don't have time to do a lot of image editing in their computer. They can create an editing profile that they know yields a look that they want under the type of light that they typically shoot in, and have their camera apply that to every image they shoot. If this sounds like something you could use, check out your manual for details. But do understand, again, these features do not actually alter your exposure settings.

As you get more comfortable with exposure and the manual modes on your camera, you might very well find a place for auto features in your day-to-day shooting. There is no single correct way to shoot, so the more tools you have in your photo arsenal, the better off you will be.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for Foundations of Photography: Exposure
Foundations of Photography: Exposure

64 video lessons · 86527 viewers

Ben Long
Author

 
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  1. 8m 45s
    1. Welcome
      1m 57s
    2. What is exposure?
      4m 8s
    3. A word about camera brands
      2m 40s
  2. 9m 31s
    1. What is a camera?
      2m 52s
    2. The shutter
      3m 53s
    3. The aperture
      1m 33s
    4. Exposure defined
      1m 13s
  3. 13m 50s
    1. Modes
      2m 7s
    2. Pressing the shutter button
      2m 54s
    3. Autofocus
      5m 22s
    4. Light metering
      2m 3s
    5. White balance
      1m 24s
  4. 29m 26s
    1. Shooting sharp images
      1m 58s
    2. Noting shutter speed
      4m 3s
    3. Taking control of shutter speed
      1m 30s
    4. Stop defined
      2m 50s
    5. Shutter priority mode
      4m 34s
    6. Exercise: Shutter speed
      40s
    7. Reciprocity
      3m 13s
    8. Controlling motion
      7m 8s
    9. Shutter speed increments
      2m 21s
    10. Exercise: Go work with shutter speed
      1m 9s
  5. 26m 2s
    1. Depth of field
      1m 53s
    2. How aperture is measured
      2m 42s
    3. Aperture priority mode
      4m 57s
    4. Lens speed
      53s
    5. Shooting deep depth of field
      3m 53s
    6. Shooting shallow depth of field
      2m 50s
    7. The depth-of-field preview button
      4m 24s
    8. How shallow should you be?
      2m 47s
    9. Exercise: Go work with aperture
      1m 43s
  6. 16m 26s
    1. ISO: The third exposure parameter
      6m 27s
    2. Assessing your camera's high ISO
      5m 32s
    3. Shooting in low light
      3m 32s
    4. Exercise: Shooting in low light
      55s
  7. 14m 30s
    1. White balance controls
      5m 37s
    2. Adjusting white balance manually
      4m 25s
    3. Shooting raw
      4m 28s
  8. 6m 3s
    1. How light meters work
      1m 47s
    2. Why are there different modes?
      4m 16s
  9. 33m 58s
    1. Exposure compensation
      4m 0s
    2. Intentional overexposure
      2m 40s
    3. Intentional underexposure
      1m 42s
    4. Controlling tone
      2m 31s
    5. The histogram
      10m 4s
    6. Real-world histograms
      5m 49s
    7. Tone and color
      2m 16s
    8. Auto exposure bracketing
      3m 57s
    9. Exercise: Go work with exposure compensation
      59s
  10. 12m 56s
    1. Dynamic range
      2m 24s
    2. Exposing for highlights
      4m 15s
    3. Fill flash
      3m 11s
    4. Three solutions to the same problem
      3m 6s
  11. 12m 26s
    1. Manual mode
      2m 6s
    2. Manual mode and light meters
      4m 52s
    3. Manual exposure exercise
      5m 28s
  12. 12m 1s
    1. Custom modes and A-DEP
      1m 39s
    2. Program shift
      3m 52s
    3. Exposure compensation with program shift
      1m 58s
    4. An exercise in reciprocity
      53s
    5. Scene modes and in-camera processing
      3m 39s
  13. 8m 15s
    1. Shooting with post production in mind
      3m 45s
    2. Exposure strategy
      3m 51s
    3. Goodbye
      39s

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