Night Scene sets the camera for photographing night scenes by natural light, adjusting exposure to maintain the natural “feel” of the scene. This involves deactivating the flash and employing long exposure times, so use of a tripod is wise. Some cameras increase the ISO in Night Scene mode and activate high-ISO and/or long-exposure noise reduction.
Night Portrait mode combines flash with a long exposure. The flash illuminates your nearby portrait subject, while the long exposure records detail in the dim background by ambient light. Position the portrait subject within flash range (generally within around 15 feet with the built-in flash unit), and put the camera on a tripod so the long ambient-light exposure doesn’t cause blurring. Since the long ambient-light exposure continues after the flash fires, ask your subject to remain still until the entire exposure is done.
BEACH & SNOW
Camera meters typically reproduce whatever you meter as a medium tone in the resulting photograph. That’s because a typical scene contains bright, dark and medium-toned portions that often average out to a medium tone. If you meter a particularly bright scene, such as a beach or snow field in bright sun, the meter can be fooled and provide an exposure that renders the sand or snow as a medium tone—way too dark. Beach & Snow mode automatically compensates for this by providing additional exposure to keep the sand or snow bright.
As you’d expect, Sunset mode punches up the warm tones—reds, oranges and yellows—and optimizes the exposure for sunsets. When the sun is right on the horizon, the light level is fairly low, so use of a tripod is wise. Although the tripod locks in your composition, remember that the sun is moving and changes position in the frame as it sets.
Safety Tip: To avoid eye damage, don’t look at the sun through a DSLR’s eye-level optical viewfinder, especially when using longer focal lengths; instead, use the camera’s LCD to compose.