How to use a camera: master manual mode for total control

How to use a camera: master manual mode for total control

In the final post in our Shoot Like A Pro series on how to use a camera, we show you how to take total control of the image-making process by learning how to master your camera’s manual exposure mode.

How to use a camera: master manual mode for total control

Once you’ve worked out how to control the aperture and shutter speeds using Aperture Priority and Shutter Priority modes, the next step is to move on to fully manual exposure.

While Manual mode gives you complete control over your camera’s settings, it doesn’t mean you can use any setting that you like. Just like in any other mode, you have to choose a combination that will 
give the correct exposure.

Your camera will have a display either on the LCD screen, in the viewfinder, or both, indicating the correct exposure according to the camera’s meter. This is usually the +0- display that’s used to measure Exposure Compensation in most other exposure modes.

You’re the boss
The real advantage of using Manual mode is that unlike any other exposure mode, none of the settings will change unless you decide to alter them.

This is perfect for situations where you have the time to think about your exposure, such as when shooting landscapes, but it’s also great for action shots where the light on the subject is constant but the lighting or colour of the background changes.

The Pros and Cons of using manual mode

Pros of using manual mode

  • When the light on the background is changing, but the light on the subject stays the same.
  • Studio photography.
  • Low-light photography.

Cons of using manual mode

  • Subjects and situations when you don’t have time to change settings.
  • When the light on the subject is changing, or the subject is moving from lighter to darker areas.
  • When you only need to control either the shutter speed or aperture for the effect you want.

PAGE 1: Pros and Cons of manual mode
PAGE 2: Use longer shutter speeds in manual mode
PAGE 3: How to get started in manual mode
PAGE 4: How to use your histogram in manual mode


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