Hen House Photography Series: Why Manual Mode is A MUST

Hen House Photography Series: Why Manual Mode is A MUST

Photography Can be For Everyone

One of the best ways to hold onto moments in time is through photography. We all know how to take a picture. Whether it is with a phone, DSLR, or even a Polaroid, all of us have taken a picture at some point in time. If you are reading this post, chances are you are wanting to become more developed in shooting photography. Good for you! If you are just starting out with a DLSR as a hobby or you are hoping to start your own photography business, this post on shooting in manual will help you immensely.

Shooting in manual will drastically change the way your photos will come out. This post is the second post of a new photography series I am starting.

I have decided to break this series into several parts. This decision was made because too much information at one time can become overwhelming. I hope this process can be enjoyable for you and that you can take the time to really learn your camera and how to shoot it.

A Little Info on The One Writing this post..

I have been shooting with a DSLR since 2011 and recently switched over to a full frame last year. This  was a GREAT DECISION. However, if you are just starting out I suggest going with a low end DSLR until you get the hang of things.

In 2016 I began shooting professionally and started my own photography business, Hen House Photography. In 2012 I studied photography and graphic design  at a local community college. This helped a lot, especially taking a film class. Film is absolutely amazing, and a good dark room session does amazing things for the soul! If you have been paying attention note that I started shooting in 2011 and didn’t begin charging clients until 2016. I chose to do this out of respect to other artists. I did not buy a camera and call myself a photographer the next day. I learned the ins and outs of how to shoot and how to properly use the equipment on hand.

The past year my business has sky rocketed as I closed down on finding my niche. There will never be a day I turn down a shoot to which I feel I can fulfill the clients request. Portraits will always be something near and dear to my heart. However for business purposes I needed to find my strengths and put most of my focus towards them. 

 I am now going to give you a quick crash course on all that I learned and hope this information makes good use to you! So grab a notebook and write down the key points!

Now Here are some Manual Basics

First of all what does it mean to shoot in manual? Shooting in manual simply means you are in full control of your camera settings. To set your camera to manual mode look at the settings dial and scroll it to the M.

There are 3 major settings, often referred to as the exposure triangle, to pay close attention to when shooting in manual.

  1. Aperture
  2. ISO
  3. Shutter Speed

It is no use learning only one side of the triangle because all three work together in unity. The one connecting factor for all three settings is LIGHT. Within the next three parts of this series we will dive into a deeper look on each side of the exposure triangle. But to get an idea we will touch base on what each side consists of.

To start we will look at aperture.

Aperture is the amount of focus in an image based on the depth of field. By adjusting the aperture setting it allows for a “blurred” background with a detailed foreground. It can also make for every little detail in an image be completely in focus. When first shooting it is common to want to try the “boca” effect, where light looks like small circles in the background. Well we can look to aperture for that too!

Now onto ISO.

ISO, to simply put it, is the camera’s sensitivity towards light. The setting or time of day drastically effects how an image will turn out while shooting in manual mode. By setting the ISO correctly it removed the imperfections that over or under exposure can cause. Such as noise. Noise is a grain like effect that sometimes occurs when the ISO setting is higher than the actual amount of light the camera is taking in. It may sound confusing right now but stick around for week 4 and ISO is extremely easy to understand.

The third and final side: Shutter Speed

This is the most self explanatory of the three sides. Shutter speed is exactly what it sounds like. The speed at which the shutter opens and closes. We adjust the speed depending on the movement we are trying to capture. If we are shooting a fast action sport we will want the fastest of the fast shutter speed to freeze the action in the moment. But if we want to shoot a long exposed shot of the ocean so they waves become soft with movement we will want to slow the speed down.

All together now

All three settings work together in unity to one another. When one setting is off it can throw off the whole shot. That is why it is so important to learn what setting works best in any given surrounding.

Coming up in the next three parts of the series I have provided cheat sheets for every “side” to screen shot. These are great guides to help learn each setting when first getting the hang of shooting in manual. Don’t be shy to enter your email and you will get these cheat sheets sent right to your inbox(saves the time of finding each post)!

Thanks for the read!



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