I actually had feedback on part one of Photo Tips for the Average Joe. One thing that one of my friends asked me was if I could do an overview of the different default settings on the average camera. I know I already covered a few. I'll list those here as well a number of others. Keep in mind these settings are off a Fujifilm Fine Pix camera. Fuji tends to have more settings than the usual point and shoot. I'm only going to cover the settings found under "scene" selection menu on most cameras.
Sport - The name of this setting is rather deceptive. It doesn't really describe what it does. "Action" would be a much better name. If your subject is moving this is your setting. For this setting to work you need a lot of light because the shutter speed is very high. Most people think of using this mode just for people but you can do much more than that. This is your setting for waterfalls (debatable), while on Kilimanjaro Safari, pictures taken from the Tomorrow Land Transit Authority, and other fast moving subjects.
Night - Some cameras have multiple night settings. This is the general setting. I like to call this setting "Dusk" I think it's a much more fitting description. For this setting to work you need some light and you need to keep still. You normally do not need tripod with this setting but that really depends on the picture. This is a good setting for Spaceship Earth, Cinderella's Castle, or the other well lit items at night.
Night Tripod - As you'd imagine you need a tripod or nerves of steel to use this setting. The shutter speed is very slow so any movement will result in bluing. This is good for taking pictures of the moon, cityscapes, and things lit with only a street lamp.
Fireworks - This is for taking stylized pictures of fireworks. I saw that because it uses a long exposure which results in streaking. To get these results you need to use a tripod. If you want more of a snapshot of fireworks you need to use a different mode.
Sunset - An interesting mode that you won't use very often. It depends on the fact that you are pointing the camera directly at the sun. Some cameras also use a filtering software to enhance the color saturation in the photo.
Snow - Believe it or not this setting is almost like the Sport setting because the shutter speed is very fast. If it wasn't you'd get an over exposed photo. When shooting in snow there is far more light than almost any other situation. You have your normal light and the light bouncing off the snow. This mode also has a filter to reduce the white balance in the photo.
Beach - Very close to Snow. I really don't know why you'd need both.
Flower - This setting was designed for up close photos with high color. It uses software filtering and some manual settings to achieve this.
Text - This setting is really designed with contrast in mind. It's meant to make the test really stand out so you can read it after. You might think you'd never use this mode but it actually works well for taking photos of signs around Disney World.
Pro Focus - This mode gives a very sharp focus on the foreground (your subject) and a soft focus on the background. You'd use this over Portrait when you want pictures of you loved ones but still show a little of what's in the background. It really does give a cool result. This is a mode you'd want to play around with.
Pro Low Light - This mode is good for any low light situation but you need to know what's going on to get the best results. You don't need a tripod for this setting but it helps. Your camera is actually taking multiple photos and merging them to enhance the photo. What it does is take a normal, and under exposed, and an overexposed photo and then tries to fill in as much detail as possible. You get some odd results. What I mean by odd is unnatural. It creates a photo that doesn't really exist but sometimes you get some really cool detail with this mode.
Natural Light - This mode tries to capture what you are seeing without filtering it. Often this results in the photo having a yellowish tint. It was really designed to take pictures of people without a flash.
Natural + Flash - It's not the previous mode with a flash. It's a mode that takes two back to back photos. One with natural light and one with a flash. This is a great setting for taking photos of characters indoors. I'm not kidding. USE THIS MODE. Use it anytime you're taking photo of someone inside unless a flash would be distracting.
Portrait - This mode is designed for taking photos of people up close and when they will be the only subject of the photo. You do not want to use this if you have any kind of background you want to capture. This mode normally adjusts the aperture of your camera to blur out the background and only focus on the person.
Enhanced Portrait - This mode is the same as Portrait except it filters the photo to bring out the persons skin tone. I'm not sure if it really improves your results it just makes them different. You'd have to play with both to see which you like better.
Landscape - This is a great mode in most settings when your subject is more than 10 feet away. This is a very dynamic mode. Before I got my new camera this was the mode I used the most because I don't take many photos of people.
Image Size - This is not really a setting like the ones above. It's actually a sub-setting that can be used with any of the above modes. Image Size refers to the layout of your photo. 4X3 is the classic photo size that works well for most shots. 3X2 is the classic portrait size but you can get some fun results when using it on other pictures. 16X9 is the wide screen, landscape, or panoramic size. You can get some awesome results with this if you practice a little.