canon rebel t3i camera

Adjusting the camera modes

The Canon Rebel T3i contains automatic features that make it simple to take a picture without having to set any manual exposure settings. The camera does all of the work for you. There are a number of different automatic features that allow for some flexibility to adjust the camera in a number of ways based on the subject matter you are going to photograph.

Adjusting the main mode dial

To turn on the camera, flip the switch at the top of the camera to "ON." Make sure the camera has both a memory card and battery inserted.

Automatic functions on the Canon T3i

The main mode selection dial of the camera has a number of options to choose from. It's best to think of the green rectangle as the middle option; everything below the green rectangle is an form of automatic called basic zone, and everything above the green rectangle are more advanced features for experienced photographers called creative zone.

Here is a general rundown of the different modes:

Automatic mode on the Canon T3i

Scene Intelligent Auto (full auto): The green rectangle with an "A" will put the camera in a mode that offers the fewest possible options for the photographer to change. The camera is essentially a point-and-shoot camera, with all the exposure settings done automatically for you. Simply put the camera into this mode, point the camera, and take a picture. The flash will automatically pop up if there is low light and the scene requires it.

No flash mode on Canon T3i

Flash Off Mode: This is the same as full automatic mode, but the flash will never pop up, even if the scene requires it due to low lighting. This mode is useful for situations where a flash will be a distraction, or is not permitted. To compensate for the low lighting, the camera will increase the sensitivity of the sensor (ISO) and may result in grainer-looking photographs.

Creative Auto mode on Canon T3i

Creative Auto Mode: This mode is similar to full automatic mode except that it allows you to change additional functions for controlling the settings of the camera. It allows you to adjust the depth of field, control whether the flash fires, and set the drive mode (continuous shooting when you hold the shutter button down.) Once in this mode, the settings can be adjusted by pressing the "Q" button on the back of the camera, and navigating to the different options.

Portrait mode on the Canon T3i

Portrait Mode: This mode is ideal for taking portraits of people, or pictures where you want the background to blur to remove distractions that might interfere with seeing the main subject. This mode will automatically set the aperture to its widest possible setting so the depth of field is shallow (thus causing background to be blurry). The amount of blur will largely depend on the type of lens being used, and sometimes will depend on how close you're zoomed on the subject. Most zoom lenses will reduce the aperture when zoomed at its fullest setting, thus preventing blurry backgrounds.

Landscape or scenic mode on Canon T3i

Landscape Mode: Landscape mode tries to do the opposite of portrait mode. Instead of blurring the backgrounds, landscape mode will try to get as much in focus as possible. This setting is ideal for taking pictures of scenes or wide shots of large areas where everything should be in focus. In this mode, the flash will not pop up and fire because the camera assumes that the subject matter is too far away for a flash to be effective.This mode with automatically set the aperture to its narrowest possible setting so the depth of field is wide (thus causing everything to be in focus as much as possible)

Macro mode in the Canon T3iClose-up Mode: Close-up mode (sometimes called macro mode), is used for taking close-up pictures of subjects. This mode will adjust various attributes of the camera to prepare it for brining out the detail in close-up pictures. It also tones down the flash so it doesn't blow out the subject matter, as what typically happens in situations when the camera is too close to the subjects. Note that all lenses have a minimum focusing distance. This is the minimum distance the lens can physcially be to the subject before the lens can no longer show the subject in focus. For some zoom lenses, this can be a long distance. In these cases, it's best to zoom in as much as possible while keeping the subject in focus.

Action mode on Canon T3iSport Mode: This mode is used for taking pictures of quickly moving subjects. It works best outdoors or when there is a lot of light. It attempts to reduce the amount of motion blur as much as possible by using high shutter speeds. Sport mode will always be restricted by the amount of available light in the scene, and when it's too dark, motion blur may be introduced into the scene.

Night mode on the Canon T3iNight Portrait Mode: Night portrait mode is for taking a very specific type of picture: at night, with a flash and using a tripod. Night mode attempts to bring out the background lights that often are lost when using flash photography at night. It's important to note that if you don't use a tripod with night mode, your photos are likely to end up blurry.