Auto mode allows your camera to make its very best guess at what you are shooting so it will fix the aperture, ISO, shutter speed, focus and flash. You will usually get great shots with this mode but that won’t always be the case because the camera doesn’t know what you really want to shoot.
Portrait mode will always work the best when you want to take photos of a single shot because it will automatically set a large aperture and a depth of field for the background. This works so your background is out of focus and the center of attention is your subject.
Macro mode works best when you want to take pictures of small objects such as flowers, insects or tiny todays because macro mode allows you to take a closer shot of your subject. The thing is that some cameras will come with different capabilities such as different focusing distances.
Landscape mode is the ideal mode when you want to take wide shots. This mode works as the opposite of portrait because it will want to focus every little thing it can in the photo by setting up a small aperture and at times, a slower shutter speed.
Sport mode (action mode) is what will work the best when you want to take pictures of moving objects such as wildlife, sports, pet and cars. The shutter speed in this mode will increase so it can attempt freezing the image and capture the scene without any blurriness.
Night mode (slow shutter sync) is a mode that will work the best when you are shooting with low light. This mode will set your camera with a longer shutter speed so it is able to help capture more details in the photo and it will release a flash to illuminate the background more.
Movie mode comes in most cameras and it will help you go from capturing still images from moving images. The quality for this mode is not up to video camera standards but it will be helpful for when the perfect subject can’t be captured in a still image.
Semi Automatic Modes
Aperture Priority Mode (A or AV)
Aperture Priority mode is a mode where you manually set your aperture and your camera sets your other settings automatically. This mode works best when you want to control the depth of field in your shot.
Shutter Priority Mode (S or TV)
Shutter Priority mode is a little similar to aperture but in this mode you’re setting the shutter speed manually. This mode obviously works when you want control over the shutter speed but also works when you want to capture fast moving objects. A faster shutter speed will help capture a better image.
Program Mode (P)
Program mode comes in some digital cameras with auto mode. Cameras that have both modes included, program mode is similar to to auto but it gives you more control over some features.
Fully Manual Mode
Manual Mode is a bit different from other modes because in this mode, you have full control of your camera’s settings. You will have to set your aperture, shutter speed, white balance, etc., manually but obviously you will need to know how to control them and what kind of shot you’ll be taking.