Camera & Lighting: Task 2

A Guide on the Canon 550D

The dial of the 550d:

Canon 550d

After turning the camera on, using the switch pictured above, choose what mode you would like to set the camera to by using the wheel (above). The functions for each mode are as follows:

A-DEP – This is Automatic Depth of Field, usually used for taking pictures of landscape, groups of people and items at different distances from the camera. The camera uses an autofocus system that measures the distance of objects, it then tries to get as much as possible in focus by using automatically controlled aperture and shutter speed.

M – This setting is Manual. This allows the user to have complete and full control over ll aspects of the camera, including aperture, shutter speed and ISO. This is difficult to perfect but when used well, can provide the perfect effects and lighting for the user.

AV – Aperture Priority (Aperture Value), this mode allows the user to control lens aperture, whilst the camera chooses the most suitable shutter speed for the setting. Using this setting allows you to obtain a blurry background or to have a sharp focus. For example:


Note: How the raindrops are in focus, whereas the background is blurred.

TV – Shutter Priority (Time Value), this setting is basically the opposite of the AV setting, allowing the user to control shutter speed, whilst the camera selects the most suitable aperture. The difference in shutter speed can be seen below:


Note: When the aperture is set at 1/160 the water is clear and focused, whereas at 1/3 there is motion blur.

P – Program. This setting allows the camera to set the aperture and shutter speed to obtain a good exposure of the subject. This setting is best used for shooting in casual environments, where you can make quick adjustments to ISO and white balance corrections.

CA – Creative Auto mode enables you to easily alter the cameras brightness, depth of field and colour settings. The camera does most of the work here, the default settings are identical to the full automatic mode so this mode is best for making slight alterations to the basic shooting mode.

Fully Automatic mode is the most basic setting. The camera takes care of all the settings allowing the user to simply point and shoot. All the AF points (below) will be in focus. Whilst this setting is easiest to use, you may not receive the full quality you want without making slight alterations.

AF points

No Flash – This setting is essentially the same as the fully automatic setting, except it disables the flash. This is best used in environments where flash photography is prohibited, or when capturing dark settings with ambient lighting. For example, candlelit settings:

candlelit photo


Portrait Mode – This setting is quite self-explanatory, best used for photographing human subjects, this setting blurs out the background to make the person in shot stand out in sharp focus. This setting also uses numerous settings to make flesh tones and hair look softer.

Landscape Mode – Again, a self explanatory mode that is best used for shooting wide scenery and night scenes. This setting gives out vibrant blues and greens, sharper than with the fully automatic setting. This mode also gives sharper focus to everything from near to far. Example below:


Close up mode. This is ideal for close up shots where detail is vital, or for shooting small objects such as flowers. This is the best setting for capturing detail as the camera will blur out the background, causing the close up object to appear much sharper and clearer than would be shown in the fully automatic mode.

Moving Subject (Sports Mode)- This setting is used for capturing moving subjects such as cars or people moving. The camera controls the shutter speed, ISO and white balance. The lighting optimiser and picture style are also set to standard.

Night Portrait Mode – This setting is best for shooting subjects at night time to obtain a natural looking background. The flash combined with a longer exposure makes for a brighter looking shot whilst the camera takes control of the ISO and white balance. See below for example:

night photography

Movie Recording – This mode is used for filming. Press the button with the red dot next to it to begin and stop recording, and use the lens’ manual zoom and focus to obtain the shot you want.