So you’ve finally purchased a fancy new with a great , you’ve seen a noticeable improvement in the quality of your images but you’re blown away by the content some people are able to produce with the same hardware on sites like Flickr. What are they doing different? If you’re like most you probably shoot using auto or standard icon modes, but in order to truly get the most out of your camera, you’re going to want to learn how to shoot .
have multiple including and built in your . The changes can usually be made either via the ring around the lens or via the menu in the . Once you have set the to , you are ready to go. is common amongst both and professionals.
Let’s do a about shooting stills and videos in when setting the to manual on a , and find the that you would be searching for.
Two words: . There are no real surprises once you’ve truly mastered manual mode, as you’ll have of the three major points of the aperture, and . We’ll go into detail on each of these points later in this article, but for now here’s a brief list of the situations where knowing manual mode is a big plus:
- Those artistic photos with blurred backgrounds filled with circles of light.
To avoid unexpected flash when shooting in conditions.
Incorporating for artistic reasons.
Anything that requires a creative angle, focal point or shot.
Now let's return to the —aperture, and . The general process of shooting in manual mode might look something like this:
Check the exposure of your shot with the visible through your .
Pick an aperture.
Adjust the .
Pick an setting versus the found in
If the “ticker” is lined up with 0 you have achieved a on your picture.
Take the Shot and get the .
You’ve probably noticed the little number line at the bottom of your field of view when you look through the ( or +2...1...0...1...2- )(). This is the , and when aligned with 0 you know that your photo will come out properly exposed. Of course if you are going for a certain effect, it may be necessary to be a little over or under exposed and you can use the to help you achieve the desired effect. that looks something like this: -2...1...0...1...2+
The aperture is the hole at the center of your camera’s shutter or iris. If you’re aiming for professional blurred background or the artistic
, it helps to set your aperture (also known as ) and can basically be thought of as a means of adjusting the amount of your picture that is in focus. The lower the , or aperture the more light reaches your sensor, and the more of your background is blurred. In addition the lower aperture will have a shallower . The higher the , the greater the field of focus and the more of your picture will be in focus with higher . In other words, low gives more light with a blurrier background; high gives and a sharper background.
In other words a , the is choosing a larger number – such as, f/18 or f/16 which makes a small opening to let the through. As the opening is small, the camera needs to make up for the loss of light by slowing the to achieve a well-exposed image.
What is versus ? is faster than . It reacts to automatically, so you are less likely to get a an or photo. Third, it maintains almost all your control over the camera, so you can still select the optimal settings for almost any shot such as , and even change from a short exposure to a . Just as if you had done things manually.
Setting your camera’s shutter is open allowing light to hit your camera’s light sensor. Typically denoted as a fraction of a second (e.g. 1/125), your will have an effect on the sharpness of your subject. is crucial. Your can be thought of as the your
Lower or let in more light, but make your image susceptible to which can cause blur and requires a steady hand or tripod. let in , but can give you a sharper subject and an image less susceptible to unsteady hands. For example, if you are a , utilizing a versus a can get you the sharp image of some tremendous detailed landscaping you may have just done and would pop out nicely on your company website.
For or objects such as cars and birds in flight, of 1/2000 sec, 1/4000 sec or quicker should give you .
can be thought of as your camera’s sensitivity to , with typical ranges on ’s today being 200-1600. There is and . The lower the number ( ), the more light is required to get a good exposure on your photographs and the less noise you will see in your resulting images. numbers allow you to shoot better quality photos in lower light conditions, but the more noise you may see in the background of your images. ’s can producer better quality images at because of the larger size of the pixels in their image sensors. They also often feature noise reduction to further assist in maintaining quality at numbers. As a general guideline, shooting outside under the sun, -200 is a safe bet, but if you’re shooting indoors under you want to be in the 800-1600 range.
When you’re starting out as a beginner, developing an intuitive understanding of how the different points of the exposure triangle play off one another may seem overwhelming at first, but shooting in manual gets easier over time. Since you have to consciously select your settings, you’ll develop a feel for how much exposure you need and what combination of ISO, aperture and shutter speed is required to achieve a desired effect. Go wild, get creative and practice using manual mode for your shots, you’ll be amazed at how much you’ll improve once you master the exposure triangle.
Remember as well images can be edited more to your liking in post-processing or photoshop. But following our “cheat sheet” of settings and photography tips when using manual mode versus automatic mode should help make you a digital photography savant taking great portrait photography.