By Joel Craig, NEWS 9 Contributor

Chances are you have a digital camera and you probably leave it in the auto mode because you don't know what all those supposedly helpful icons mean.

On one of my cameras, what looked like a pick axe was actually suppose to be a runner, indicating the sports mode. You use the sports setting when taking pictures of fast action, like for your kids soccer game. The faster shutter speed provides a virtual freeze frame. You need good lighting for this to work correctly.

The two triangles that are supposed to look like mountains, is the landscape setting for taking pictures of distant objects. Sometimes the symbol for this will be a laying down figure 8, indicating infinity. This generally will turn off the flash as the flash isn't any use if something is more than 10 feet from the camera.

A face or side view of a person's head is the portrait mode for close-up pictures. This setting will blur the background so as not to distract from your subject. You'll want to be sure the camera's anti-redeye feature is turned on. Redeye could be represented by the symbol of an eye or an eye with a lightning bolt through it.

When the flash is active you'll see a lightning bolt. When the flash is off the lightning bolt symbol will disappear from your display or have a slash through it.

A flower is for extreme close-ups when you're only two inches to two feet away.

The quarter moon looking icon is for night scenes. This keeps the camera's shutter open longer so the background will appear brighter. If you're going to use this mode, it's best to have your camera mounted on a tripod, otherwise the picture will be blurry.

Some cameras have a movie mode for taking short movie clips. You'll find an icon looking like an old movie camera or it could look like a video tape.

And of course the symbol of a trash can is to delete an image. Just be sure you're deleting that one picture you don't want and not all the pictures in memory.

There are more icon possibilities but these were the common ones. I'm afraid you're going to have to read your manual to know them all.