Art and Photography

Best camera settings for shooting? Newbie question

  • Last Updated:
  • Nov 22nd, 2018 3:23 am
Deal Addict
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May 15, 2016
4195 posts

Best camera settings for shooting? Newbie question

I always leave my gopro and phone on auto but I was told that I can do more with my photos with manual settings. How many of you change the default settings or is auto good enough nowadays?

Can someone please give me a quick guide as to what I should look or read up on? Thanks.
6 replies
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Mar 23, 2008
9749 posts
There's no "best setting". If you're going to change to manual settings, you'll need to adjust it for the current situation that you're shooting. Not necessarily for every shot, but as the lighting changes (in particular).

Kind of like changing to manual focus... Once you change to manual focus, you don't want to forget to focus when you move your camera or subjects around, or you'll be very disappointed with the results.

My advice would be to play with the settings as you like, but change back to AUTO when you're done. That way, when you grab your phone to take a quick shot of your dogs or kids, you won't miss the shot just because you forgot that yesterday you were shooting in the afternoon sun and now you're in the basement.

In any case, explore all you like on the manual settings. There's lots of tutorials out there, but hands on playing around is the best teacher.

Sr. Member
Jan 18, 2017
523 posts
Depends on your intention.

Narrow DOF? Wide aperture.
Panning or capturing motion (like waterfall?) Drag shutter.

For a typical setting I usually stop down 1 to 1 1/3 stop and keep shutter speed above 1/effective focal length. But P is pretty darn good these days, giving my camera to a non-photographer and seeing the photos it comes out with. They typically have more trouble with focus than exposure.
Jun 16, 2017
2 posts
When I first started shooting SLR's I got a friend to show me the ropes. He used to instruct photography classes in Calgary. He said that he got his students to shoot in Aperture mode (A setting on the dial) this helps you control depth of field, amount of light your letting in and the camera handles the rest. I still currently do a lot of my shooting in Aperture, unless I am shooting something specific which requires a slower or faster shutter speed.

Another thing I would suggest is if you're shooting in auto the camera data should tell you what your aperture, shutter speed and ISO are, by looking at these you can get a bit of an idea as to what settings would work best in your shooting conditions.
As someone mentioned though the best thing to do is to just shoot.

The benefit of digital cameras is if you don't like a photo just delete it. I even find that I take shots and make adjustments when needed. I've done this shooting water, or fireworks to decide on whether I wanted a slower shutter speed, or if I wanted it a bit faster.

Hope this helps a bit.
Deal Guru
Oct 27, 2003
13073 posts
P or Auto, until you figure out what you are doing. Auto White Balance, auto ISO.
Sr. Member
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Nov 4, 2016
850 posts
I would use aperture priority mode for stationary shots. And use shutter speed priority mode for fast moving action shots. Learn them one at a time.
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