Basic Settings On a Camera

Bravo you’ve gotten your digital camera, but that’s not the end of the world, rather it opens the door to another problem. It is one thing to buy a new camera and it’s to operate it, take good quality pictures with them.

Frankly speaking, every good picture came as a result of good, appropriate camera settings. As a beginner, now that you have gotten your camera and is ready to start photography, it is essential to get to know your camera, its operations.

There are plenty of times you would like your camera to do what you want, or you are annoyed that the photo you are getting from your camera may not be up to your standard, or you want your camera to view your subject the way you want. You need to master your camera, control the settings and be in charge of it.

There are basic settings on a camera you need to know and master properly for your development to a professional photographer. These settings are very important and I will be discussing them here.

The first of them are what I call the three inseparable brothers, you must have heard about. Aperture, shutters speed, and ISO. In my previous article, I discussed this succinctly and I might not be saying much about them here. For more details, visit my post here:

These three are a makeup of the exposure triangle. Having a basic understanding of the exposure triangle and how it works will ensure you have a properly exposed image.


Known as International Standard Organization. It determines the sensitivity of your camera to light. A low ISO makes your camera less sensitive to light and vice versa.


Essentially the hole in the camera lens. It allows light to travel into the camera. A larger light ensures more light enters the camera. It is measured in f-stops.

Shutter speed:

the shutter is the door lets in light to the sensor while shutter speed is the length of time that the shutter is open to allow in light to enter the sensor. Generally the longer the time, the more light enters the sensor.

Other camera settings are here below

Camera Modes:


Manual Mode:

Like the name, the manual mode allows you to select your settings by yourself. It gives you total control in espousing your images. You can set your aperture, shutter speed, and ISO all by yourself and the way you want it.

This style is very important for self-development. Always relying on automatic mode, AV and TV priority is not always good but not bad anyway.

If you want to grow, practice with your camera, set your aperture, shutter speed, and ISO all by yourself. You could play with your camera settings all by yourself. You have to be able to change your settings when confronted with different lighting conditions.

Automatic Mode:

in this mode, the camera takes over. It automatically recommends the right settings  for you. Whatever area you find yourself, say a low light area, or when you are out on a very sunny day, once you step out with your camera in automatic mode, it chooses the aperture, shutter speed for you.This is good for beginners but it is advisable that they don’t rely completely on it.

The AV and TV modes are known as aperture priority and shutter priority respectively are also good. In these modes, your camera automatically chooses the shutter speed settings by itself while you set the aperture and ISO. It is quite different from the automatic mode.

They are quite good, but personally, it is advisable for you to take full control of your camera aperture, shutter speed, and ISO settings. Manual modes help you get familiar with the different settings available in your camera and what to expect in your photos. You know how each setting affects your image.


White Balancing:

This is generally the correct adjustment of color intensity. It is also known as grey or neutral balancing. This is an aspect of camera settings most photographers avoid. You must have noticed most images you’ve taken look different when compared with the natural one. This is because most light sources have a different color that came with them, tungsten light has a yellow color.

As a beginner, you can set your white balance in automatic or semi-automatic as you try to grasp other camera settings, as such, you would not need to worry too much on it.



This allows you to focus on your subject while he/she is moving. It is also important when shooting quickly and taking fast shots.



The Rule of Thirds:

One of the important camera settings you should know. It is important for balancing your shots. Just try to imagine that your camera or viewfinder is divided into three horizontal lines and three vertical lines, thus having 9 spaces.

Having this in mind, identify the important parts of the image you should place in the midpoint of these lines, usually a four-line space like a box.

Placing these important parts of your images in these imaginary four lines, makes your picture look more balanced and seems natural to the viewer. Visit my article on smartphone photography:

The Depth of Field Settings:

This is known as DoF and is the amount of your shot that is in focus. This is done by the aperture. A large aperture that is, (a small f-stop) will make your depth of field smaller, and give you a blurry background. Try different aperture setting and see the effects it gives you in the background.


Learning The Shutter Release Technique:

this is a problem most beginners have, having to shoot multiple times on just pressing the shutter.
When you buy your camera (maybe a DSLR) learn to take shots in continuous modes, try as much as possible through practice as it would help you determine the amount of pressure you need to apply on your shutter button to avoid taking many pictures.

Here is a video review for you:

Hope you learned a lot, there are many other settings you could learn, share them in the comments box below and thoughts

Author: Arinze

A Photography enthusiastic. I work with a group of other professional photographers to provide you tips on photography

About Arinze

A Photography enthusiastic. I work with a group of other professional photographers to provide you tips on photography

View all posts by Arinze →

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