The quick way to learn how to use the MANUAL MODE
This section is for you if you have never shot in anything other than “Auto” mode before. Instead of repeating what I wrote in my previous posts in The Photography Express, let me first encourage you to visit my getting started page. Inside there you will find 10 steps of how to learn your DSLR from zero experience. Listed below are the steps that I truly believe you must master in order to leave the Auto mode with your DSLR.
1) The exposure triangle – Understands the relationship between ISO, Aperture and Shutter speed.
2) ISO – Learn how camera detects light and what you need to do to adjust it.
3) Aperture – Understands the f-stops, effect on lens aperture and the relationship with Depth of Field in your photos.
4) Shutter Speed – Learn why the duration of the shutter curtain opening affects your photography.
5) Understand your camera’s shooting mode – Understands which camera setting fit best in various lighting situation.
6) Practice Practice Practice – This step is ongoing for all photographers.
If you only have 5 minutes a day to learn photography and you want to learn how to use the manual mode, the above list is great to get you started. Now for those of you who is already using manual mode and would like to get better at it, here is my quick to-do list:
How to master manual exposure (The Express Way)
1) Take a picture of your city’s downtown at night – Doing this will let you learn how to master long exposure with your DSLR on a tripod. Do not underestimate the skills involved with shooting still objects (buildings) at night. This will test your tripod and long exposure techniques. I’ve a post on 5 tips on taking great pictures of landscape photography here for your reference.
2) Take a picture of a lighted candle in the dark – Doing this will let you learn how to master the different camera’s shooting mode. In the auto mode a picture like this will either be under or over-exposed. So you cannot rely on your camera’s metering system.
3) Take a Sunset portrait– Ask one of your friend to be your model, let your friend face his/her back towards the sun and adjust your camera’s setting to properly exposure the picture. You may have to use an external flash in this type of shot.
4) Take a picture of your pet indoor – Doing this will let you learn the 3 most important exposure element. Aperture, Shutter Speed, and ISO. Since your pet may be running around and it’s indoor, it’ll test your camera focusing skills as well as the 3 exposure elements above. Sport’s photography indoor works too if you have the time and opportunity to go.
I hope I answered another one of your questions. Please keep sending your photography questions and I’ll see you in the next TKE post!