Why You Should Learn to Shoot in Manual
June 1, 2012
This post is directed at you bloggers/non-bloggers/budding wannabe photographers/non-wannabe photographers just people who just want to learn how to take better pictures with your DSLR camera or people who own a DSLR camera but don’t know how to use it. Raise your hand if that’s you.
Well guess what, that last one was me two years ago too! I had owned a Nikon DSLR camera for a few years but didn’t know how to use it other than setting it on the automatic functions (seen below) and I lived in the automatic zone pretty happily for several years.
Then I became one of those ‘I just want to learn how to change the settings myself’ people because I wanted to be better at taking interior shots or project images for my personal life and also for the blog. I read my manual and there was that one fateful day switched my camera to “M” – it was there I applied what I learned and taught myself a few things about shooting better interior photos and it’s true, there was a “lightbulb moment” and I’ve been shooting in manual mode ever since.
Good news! Even better than your wordy manual, there is an easily digestible and understandable source of information about shooting in manual mode that anyone can absorb and understand, whether you own a Canon or Nikon. Do you want that “lightbulb moment” too? Do you want to push your photography to the next level? Do you want to finally learn to shoot in manual mode? Yes? Yes? Amen!
If you’re familiar with The Lettered Cottage then you know Kevin and Josh have launched Shoot Fly Shoot, an online tutorial site dedicated to breaking down the concepts of shooting in manual mode into digestible videos per topic (aperture, ISO, shutter speed, lenses, etc). Together in their everyday voices, they coach you through the basics from how to change the aperture, how to adjust the shutter speed, and how to set the ISO, etc. If you spend the time to watch them do it, you can do it too, promise!
Want to take better interior shots? Learn why you need to dial up the numerical aperture setting for greater depth of field, and why using a tripod allows you to dial down the shutter speed to better capture interiors.
Here’s Kevin changing the aperture and shutter speed for you – coaching viewers on the better settings for shooting interiors.
Want to shoot landscape or outdoor scenes? Learn how to quickly change the shutter speed to capture outdoor settings in filtered sunlight.
Love the look of bokeh or shallow depth of field? If you learn how to change the aperture setting then you also control depth of field (or how crisp or how blurry your background will be). Just yesterday I took my camera out into the garden and captured some hydrangeas in bloom and because I know how to dial down the aperture setting on my 50 mm lens to 2.0 – I can capture them with very shallow depth of field and focus only on the main bloom with the background intentionally blown out and blurry.
Want to learn how to shoot quick action? Amazing moments happen in an instant and if you don’t catch them, they’re gone. This picture of my kid at our annual Easter egg hunt totally cracks me up – it’s like a scene from Braveheart – just look at the intensity of her expression in pursuit of sugar. I would never have caught this image if I hadn’t known to set my shutter speed at 1/1000. Priceless!
Want to learn how to take better portraits? I shot this image last year of my two daughters in filtered light and I was able to capture the moment so well because I’ve learned how to quickly adjust the shutter speed.
Kevin and Josh will walk you through how to change your aperture, your shutter speed, and your ISO in the videos based on the setting your trying to shoot, and they also tackle topics from exposure to metering to equipment.
And if you love styling like I do, there’s even a video on that topic too.
Here’s Josh, walking you through how to change the manual settings on your camera to take a well composed perfectly lit image of your vignette or project.
I’m not the type to sell you anything I don’t believe in but I really do love this course and these videos and I think the site is really so smart. I especially love how all the videos coach you through the process of getting to know what you need to know about aperture, ISO and shutter speed, and I guarantee you’ll finally learn how to use your DSLR camera in manual mode which will lead to a lifetime of better photography.
Look for this image in the sidebar to sign up!
* some images courtesy of Shoot Fly Shoot, proud to be an affiliate.
Are you ready to finally learn how to use your DSLR camera? Today’s the day!