Using your camera on manual mode - Lesson 1

Have been wondering how to make the big jump and switch your camera to MANUAL mode for while? 

Controlling all the settings of your camera is incredibly rewarding. Believe me, if you give it a try and stick with it for a little while until you gain confidence, you will not want to go back! 

I would love to help you get started!  In this first blog post, I will show you what settings you need to be able to control. In further lessons, you will learn how each settings helps you achieve a specific result. 

So let's give it a try! 


1. First, make sure your camera is on MANUAL mode (M).


2. Set your screen so you can see your settings.

At the moment, you will only have to adjust three settings in your camera. In order to know how to access your settings, refer to your camera user guide, as each camera functions differently. 

On the first line of settings you can see  M   1/250  F3.2  ISO800 (these settings might be displayed slightly differently depending on your camera). 

M stands for Manual Mode, so you are good to go there. 


3. Set your shutter speed

The SHUTTER SPEED (1/250 in the example above) controls how fast your lens will close and open its blades, thereby affecting how much light will be allowed inside your camera. Depending on whether your subject is moving or still, shutter speed will alter the sharpness of your image (how much motion blur there will be).


4. Set your aperture 

The APERTURE (F3.2 in the example above) controls how wide the blades of your lens will open and thereby also affecting how much light will be allowed inside your camera. It affects your depth of field as well (how much blur you want to achieve in the foreground and/or background). 


5. Set your ISO

The ISO (800 in the example above) affects how sensitive to light your camera will be. The higher the number, the more sensitive to light it will be. A higher number will also add grain to your image. 


6. Have fun changing your settings and see what happens! 

Only experience will show you exactly how all these settings will affect your picture. With digital cameras, trial and error is an easy process. You can take a picture, look at your screen to see the result and retake another picture adjusting your settings if it doesn't turn out the way you expected it. You can change your settings as many times as you want! 


7. Tip: your light meter is your best friend!


A good way to start is to look at the light meter and aim for it to be at 0.  

This means that the picture is properly exposed: there is just the right amount of light getting in the camera to produce a good photo.


8. You can't go wrong, there isn't just one way to take a good shot! There are a million ways! 

Creativity happens when you decide exactly how you want the perfect quantity of light to get in. Will it be by opening your aperture wide? Slowing down your shutter speed? Cranking up your ISO? You decide. There isn’t one way to take a picture, it is all about you achieving your vision. 

Please don't hesitate to comment below and let me know if this step-by-step process helped you get started. Stay put and I will soon show you how to further practice with each of the settings. 

Using your camera on manual mode