Because of Brenda’s question last week, I thought it best to go ahead and address this. Thanks Brenda for pushing yourself and thinking ahead…for thinking outside the box.
Stay with me. You can do this! You’re ready! Hopefully you’re already adjusting your shutter speed, aperture and ISO accordingly, so it’s time to take the plunge and put it all together.
I know right now you’re asking me “why do I need to shoot in manual mode”.
Well, the one thing we’ve talked about for all these weeks is creating a well exposed image that you control….taking control away from your camera and putting it totally in your hands.
Your camera does not see what you see. Your camera is not near as smart as you are. Your camera can only read shades of light…light…gray…dark…and tries to expose the best mid-tone image it can.
When you shoot in manual mode, you control your exposure, your image….you create an image more true to what your own eyes are seeing.
So, without further ado, turn that dial to M, get your subject ready and look thru that viewfinder. If you have an SLR, you should see a bar-looking graph somewhere along your internal screen. It will probably be on your external LCD screen as well.
It looks like this: 2…-1…0…+1…2
We’ve talked about this graph before for controlling your flash output…this works the same way.
Set your aperture and shutter speed for your ambient light and image needs.
Roll your dial to the minus side and you’re underexposing. Roll your dial to the plus side and you’re overexposing. Move it to the 0 and you’re image should be correctly exposed. It’s not everytime, you’ll always be on “0”; sometimes you’ll intentionally underexpose and other times overexpose….based on your needs for you image.
Not only simply roll your dial to the left and right, but watch your numbers (shutter speed and aperture) are doing. That’s what’s changing, not just a line on a graph. Before you know it, you’re thinking will move from adjusting the graph to adjusting your numbers. Go you!
On my camera, I have a dial that controls my shutter speed and a dial that controls my aperture. I roll each one accordingly based on my needs for the shot.
I know this is a major move; conquering this does not happen overnight. It took me years to master this. And not all professional photographers shoot manual and that’s okay. I don’t shoot manual 100% of the time; sometimes I’ll shoot in aperture priority. I try not to have rules when it comes to my photography. My goal is to create a great image regardless of how I get there. And we’ve talked about that-shooting in aperture priority is still a great way to learn exposure and your camera. But when you’re ready, give it a try and see what happens. One thing I do know is that shooting in P mode will always keep you in the box and limit you and your potential.