Shooting in Manual | Stacey Marble Photography | Photography Tips

Shooting in Manual Mode

Shooting in manual mode gives you more control of your images. The biggest things to focus on are aperture, shutter speed and ISO. I'll talk about each of those individually in a moment. But first, WHY should you be shooting in manual? It gives you the chance to create the image that you intend to create in the camera. This means less post processing work. Plus many of the things you'll be controlling can't be replicated as easy in the editing portion of photography. It will save you time! Think about it. If you are always bumping up the exposure in your editing, you don't need to! You can control that while you're taking the photo.

One of my biggest fears when I started taking using manual instead of auto was not adjusting my settings when I went from shade to sunlight in a hurry. And, sometimes I did forget, but it didn't take long for me to figure it out and it's now second nature to adjust my shutter speed and aperture when needed. Trust me, you won't look back and you'll wish you'd started using manual mode sooner.

The aperture is the opening in the lens. It can open and close, letting lots of light, or just a small amount. Aperture also controls your depth of field, or, the area the is in focus in the image. The wider your aperture (meaning the hole is bigger, letting more light in,) the smaller your depth of field will be. The smaller your aperture, the larger your depth of field is. Having a wide aperture gives you the creamy, out of focus backgrounds that are often desired and can help the subject in focus "pop." It is good to note that the depth of field also depends on how close or far away you are from your subject.

Shutter Speed
You can control how quickly your shutter opens and closes, thus controlling on a different level how much light is let into your camera. Most of the time it's preferred to have a quicker shutter speed to prevent blurry images. Long exposures have longer shutter speed times. The darker your subject matter, the longer your shutter speed will have to be, and the more open your aperture. But, sometimes it's too dark for just these 2 settings to work, which is where ISO comes in to play.

ISOYou can raise your ISO in darker conditions and keep your aperture and shutter speed at the desired settings. Raising the ISO does cause more grainy photos, but sometimes that's what you have to work with. In my opinion, it's better to get grainy photos that aren't blurry than to have the blurry photos.


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