Why shoot manual mode?
So you finally purchased a fancy DSLR camera, ready to start taking better photos. You put the camera in Auto mode and immediately get dismayed with the results, finding them inferior compared to what others can produce with the same hardware. The solution: go manual mode.
Here’s what you need to do to step-up your photography game from automatic to manual shooting.
Step 1: Guesstimate the ISO
- ISO is a numerical value on manual cameras that controls light sensitivity.
- Lower ISO number means more light is required to get a good exposure with less noise.
- Higher ISO number produces better quality photos in lower light conditions but with more noise.
- ISO 100-200 is a safe bet when shooting under the sun, while ISO 800-1600 is the ideal range when shooting indoors under low lighting.
Step 2: Choose an Aperture
- Aperture is the hole at the center of a camera’s shutter or iris that controls the amount of light coming through the lens. It controls the depth of field.
- The lower the aperture (or f-stop), the larger the opening of the lens, which will result in less depth of field – for blurry background shots.
- The higher the aperture, the sharper the background – great for capturing every detail in a scene (ideal for landscapes).
Step 3: Set the Shutter Speed
- The shutter speed is the length of time when the camera’s digital sensor is exposed to light, and when the camera’s shutter remains open when taking a photo.
- It is responsible for the brightness of a photo and creating dramatic effects.
- Long shutter speed makes moving objects appear blurred along the direction of motion.
- Slow shutter speeds are used at night, or in a dim environment with a tripod.
- A particularly fast shutter speed can eliminate motion from fast-moving objects, creating a freeze motion.
Some Golden Rules
Follow the Rule of Thirds
Break images into nine squares of equal size, with two horizontal lines intersecting two vertical lines. This technique helps create drama in a photo.
Choose a Focal Point
Give people something interesting to focus their attention on. Without a focal point, photos tend to get looked over.
Check Out the Sun
The best time for manual photography is the golden hour, the period of daytime shortly after sunrise or before sunset – or when nature is in its best look.
Use a Tripod
This is best for capturing longer exposure. Plus, a tripod gives photographers ample time to think about their subject and its angle.
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