How to Shoot in Manual Mode

If you’re new to photography or videography, you may be wondering how to shoot in manual mode. While it may seem daunting at first, manual mode is actually quite simple once you get the hang of it. In this blog post, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know about shooting in manual mode, from setting your aperture and shutter speed to choosing the right ISO. By the end of this post, you’ll be a pro at shooting in manual mode!


Savannah: Hey, what are you up to?

Bogdan: I’m working on some of the pictures for one of our clients.

Savannah: Your pictures look so good. Mine never look like that. Teach me how!

Bogdan: Well do you shoot in manual mode, I assume

Savannah: Manual? No, I just shoot in automatic

Bogdan: In automatic, Savannah? You cannot shoot automatic. We have to fix this. Follow me and I’m gonna share some photography secrets with you.

So what I did is I created a photography cheat sheet, just for me, to help me with shooting in manual mode. If you want to be an expert in shooting in manual mode, you only have to worry about three things: aperture, shutter speed, and ISO. And I’m about to explain it to you in under two minutes.


So what is aperture? Have you ever seen those beautiful pictures with this very nice and soft blur in the background? That’s where it comes from. Low F point. So, if you’re taking a portrait picture from that beautiful background, you need to have a low F point. And if you’re taking a picture of a beautiful landscape view at the beach and there’s mountains too, and you want everything to focus, then you would want to have a high F point. So once again, low F point = shallow depths of field, high F point = deep depth of field. Also, you need to keep in mind that a low F point makes your pictures brighter and a high F point naturally keeps it darker. Okay? Done with aperture.


Next we’re gonna move to shutter speed. If you’re at your son’s soccer game and there’s so much action going on, you would want to have a higher shutter speed. Usually, when I’m taking action pictures, I stay in about 250 to 500. If you have a nicer camera, you can go up to as high as 1000. So can you imagine how cool this technology is? It’s taking a picture in 1000th of a second. That’s mind blowing, Savannah! Alrighty, have you ever seen pictures where it’s night photography, those beautiful tail light trails, you can accomplish that by using long exposure feature. The way to turn your shutter speed up or down. If you have SONY cameras like I do, but it’s very similar to other cameras, you just turn the snap over here and it shows you shutter speed. So as you can see, when I go up, it turns the pictures darker. When I go down, it turns brighter. Alrighty, we covered shutter speed.


Now we’re gonna cover ISO. What is ISO? The easiest way to explain ISO is more like artificial light. If you’re shooting on a beautiful sunny day, you want to keep your ISO as low as possible, the reason is because low ISO equals low noise and higher quality pictures. But if you shoot in a dark environment or it’s at night, you’re going to have no choice, but to turn your ISO up. But you have to be very careful because you do not want your ISO too high because you’re gonna have a very low quality, noisy picture.


So here’s where the true art comes in, this is why so many people are scared of shooting manual mode. The reason is because aperture, shutter speed and ISO all work together. So usually when I’m taking pictures, the first thing I adjust is aperture because aperture literally defines your picture. You want to blur the background, you don’t want to blur, however you want your image to look. So when I adjust my aperture, then I move to the shutter speed. If I’m doing product photography, anything where a subject doesn’t move, I can put my shutter speed as low as I want to, which will give me more light. But if I’m taking action pictures, I will naturally turn it higher. And lastly, I adjust my ISO. If my shot is already super dark, because my F point is high and my shutter speed is high, I will turn my ISO up here. I have a Sony Alpha 73 camera, and usually I’m safe to go up to about 2,500 ISO. There’s some nicer cameras where you can go all the way up to 5,000 without having too much noise. But that’s what you’re really paying for, real nice expensive cameras. You’re paying for that artificial light.


That pretty much summarizes my very quick tutorial on how to shoot in manual mode. Thanks so much for watching. I’m Bogdan, the photography and videography expert here at DesignLoud. Follow our YouTube channel for more content like this. Peace!

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DesignLoud is a web development & digital marketing agency located in Wilmington, NC. Our team takes great pleasure in teaching others how to build and market their websites to see higher returns.

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