Shooting in Manual Mode

September 16, 2019

If you are just starting your photography career or a hobbyists wanting take a great shot or two, shooting in manual mode can be very beneficial long after your image is captured! Almost every professional photographer is shooting in Manual and it isn’t for the fun if it! All you have to remember is three elements that will make the prefect exposure for your images. Shutter Speed, Aperture and ISO! I hope after you are done reading this you will be shooting in Manuel in no time!

Manuel Mode settings in a Triangle. At the top "ISO", to the bottom left "Aperture" and the bottom right is "Shutter Speed."


If you are shooting in AUTO you camera is getting a proper meter reading for you! In “Manual Mode” you will have to be aware of you meter reading and have to adjust it which way your meter is telling you. You will see to the left your image will be underexposed if you are to the right it will be overexposed. So you want your meter to fall right in the middle to get a properly exposed image.



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When you look through your viewfinder you will see your meter reading at the bottom. Most DSLR will have a dial on the back of your camera where you adjust it either to the right or left to get it the center.



ISO measures the sensitivity of the image sensor. The same principles apply as in film photography – the lower the number the less sensitive your camera is to light and the finer the grain. … ” By choosing a higher ISO you will see a little bit more grain and will be able to use a high shutter speed. In the images below what ISO do you think it was taken at?




The image on the left was taken at ISO 200.  My ISO wasn’t high in this image because I had plenty of bright sun light so I didn’t want a high ISO. Having a ISO in this setting would’ve blown out my image. The image on the right of the cake however was taken at an ISO of 1250. This was inside of a VERY dark barn so I had to raise my ISO to overcompensate for the lack of light making my camera sensor very sensitive to light so there was a minimal amount if grain in this image.





Aperture is the size of the opening in the lens that can be adjusted to control the amount of light reaching the film or digital sensor. The size of the aperture is measured in F-stop.” If you have an Aperture of f/2.8 you would have a lot of light coming into your lens and the background of your image would very blurred. If you are shooting a landscape where you would want the whole image to be sharp and in focus then you would most likely shot at a higher aperture maybe f/5.6 or f/6. Having a low aperture will let more light into your lens and again making the background blurry. A higher ISO is making your cameras sensor sensitive to the light so you would use a higher ISO in situations when the light isn’t ideal to make your sensor more sensitive to the light allowing more light in but pushing you ISO will result in grain the higher you go. 







Shutter speed is the length of time when the film or digital sensor inside the camera is exposed to light, also when a camera’s shutter is open when taking a photograph. The amount of light that reaches the film or image sensor is proportional to the exposure time.” Your Shutter speed is how quickly your shutter is opening and closing, Depending on the type of photography your shutter speed will vary. But when I am shooting in Manual I adjust my ISO and Aperture and look at my meter in my viewfinder and adjust it accordingly. If you are wanting to freeze action a shutter speed you may want to use 1/1000 or higher. Or if you are shooting the milky way you would want to leave your shutter open longer so more light would come into your sensor so you would want maybe 1/30.



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