Not to sound like a broken record, but if you love photography, consider yourself a hobbiest, or are looking to make this your career, you, without a doubt, need to be taking photos in manual mode.
You Need to Be Taking Photos in Manual Mode.
A lot of my friends, family, and even my mentor students ask, “Why would I do that when taking photos in Auto Mode is so easy?”
I get it. I asked myself the same question when I got my first DSLR in High School. I definitely had the creativity and “eye” for photography, but I hadn’t quite mastered manual mode until years later and when I did, my level of creativity skyrocketed. I was able to do things with my camera I never would have been able to on AUTO mode.
Once I fully mastered shooting in Manual, my photography drastically improved and I started Studio 29 Photography.
Taking photos in Manual Mode gives you all of the control over how your images will turn out. You can manipulate your settings in order to achieve the perfect exposure for any lighting scenario and you can be so much more creative with your photos; dragging the shutter, double exposures, long exposures, etc.
Manual is the best and once you learn it it will be the only way you should ever be taking photos.
The best advice I wish I could have given 18 year old me was, practice practice practice. And, I will do the same for you here today, but I will also give you some insight on how to take photos on manual mode.
The 3 most important factors for taking photos in manual mode can be thought of as the 3 points of a triangle. When you connect all the points of the triangle, you end up with perfect exposure.
You will only have complete control of all the points of the triangle if you are shooting with your camera in manual mode.
The three points of the triangle are: Shutter Speed, ISO, and Aperture.
1) Shutter Speed
The shutter speed factor of shooting in manual mode has a few aspects to it. You have to be able to read the meter on your camera. As you look at your camera, there are little numbers (-2, -1, 0, 1, 2) in the bottom of your field of view in the viewfinder. These make up the light meter and adjusting this will change the exposure of your photo.
Tip: If you need help seeing how your different settings can change on your light meeter, you can turn on your LCD screen and watch the exposure change as you are toying with the dials. For beginner photographers physically seeing the settings change around can be very helpful.
Once you have chosen the exposure on the light meter, shutter speed comes into play. The shutter speed is the amount of time your camera’s shutter is open allowing more or less light into the picture. This will change how blurry or sharp your image is. Low shutter speeds mean an increased possibility of blurriness. Fast shutter speeds make for sharper subjects.
Your camera’s sensitivity to light is called the ISO. There are low and high ISO numbers on DSLR cameras. Setting your camera to a lower ISO means you are in a particular setting that has ample lighting in order to get a good exposure on your photo. Setting your camera to a higher ISO enables you to take photos in a lower lit situation. The higher your ISO, the more sensitive to light your camera will be. The higher the ISO will also mean the grittier or more “grain” a photo will have.
Also known as the f-stop, the aperture is the hole at the center of your camera shutter. This is how you can manually focus your image and decide how much of the background is needed to be in focus. The low f-number apertures give more light and less background is focus in your image. The high f-number apertures give less light and more background in focus for your photo.
Remember, practice makes perfect! Try playing around with these different settings and different types of images.
Continue to click around the House Fur blog for more photography tips! But, most importantly get out there and practice!