Before I get started, I should mention that Chelsey suggested I write this piece A LONG TIME ago - seriously, it's been in draft mode for months. I've been dragging my feet and I apologize. With that said, I really hope this is helpful.
So you've bought your first DSLR and you're ready to take better pictures. One problem...you have the exact same camera as "so and so." Their camera takes beautiful photographs, but your photos still look blah. Well, it may be the photographer (just kidding…kinda)...but, it could be that you just need to stop using AUTO and start shooting MANUAL!
|Symbiosis by RSL Photography|
For example, I recall doing one of my first portrait sessions with a friend. I thought to be safe, I should shoot in Aperture Priority Mode. After breaking out into sweats because I was so nervous, I realized that every one of my shots were underexposed. I made a split decision to go back to shooting manual. Wah lah, 100% improvement.
Now, if you follow my blog, you know that Jill and I started a new photo challenge called Shoot and Edit at the beginning of the year. Each week, she provides a photography tip on Monday while we link up our SOOC shots based on her advice. Then on Thursday, I provide editing tips and encourage you to link up your edited shots based on my tutorial. Jill truly knows her stuff when it comes to photography and is teaching us to work towards proper exposure in camera.Perfect exposure is definitely our goal. We want our subject to appear on "film" just as they do in real life. However, sometimes “perfect exposure” can be misleading. I remember when I was first trying to understand the exposure triangle (ISO, Aperture and Shutter Speed); I was convinced that I would never understand because there were just too many calculations to remember. In fact, I ran into people whose brain seemed to operate like a massive calculator. It scared me!
I am not as concerned about "the calculation," but I do want you to understand the difference between the combinations to create a nice depth of field or motion blur (depending on what you’re interested in). Remember that photography is a creative and subjective art form – as much as my “engineer-brain” husband (and many other men out there) would like to believe that it’s all about the numbers, it should be a creative process…let’s not make it more complicated than it has to be.
Manual Mode is as simple as setting up a tripod. Like a tripod, each leg needs to be set properly, but it’s really not that difficult. So, let me quit rambling and provide you with four simple steps for going manual:
- Visualize the shot and determine what you want to control. Do you want to a nice depth of field or motion blur?
- Adjust your settings:
- Set your ISO speed:
- ISO 100: Great for bright sunny days, at the beach or on the snow.
- ISO 200: Great for overcast daylight pictures (noise levels may increase, but in most cases not noticeably).
- ISO 400: Great for lower lighting conditions (indoors, night time) or when you need to capture faster moving subjects in lower lighting conditions.
- ISO 800 or above: Generally used for lower light and night time settings, but can produce a lot of noise.
With that said, if you haven't already...go out and experiment in manual mode. Practice these easy steps – Visualize your shot, adjust your settings, balance and focus– and learn how simple manual mode really is. It's really that easy and you won't go back to shooting any other way!
|Day 228 by Allie Photography|