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7 Days To Mastering Manual Mode: Why Shoot in Manual Mode

Where I Started

I haven’t ALWAYS shot in manual mode.  When I bought that first SLR camera, I had just learned what aperture, shutter speed, and ISO were and how they worked together to make a good exposure.  I KNEW how to use manual mode, but I figured that was the “old school” way of taking photos.  After all, my new camera had lots of fancy buttons so why not use them.

The problem with this mode of thinking came when I would look at the photos I had taken and the exposure just wasn’t what I had envisioned through the viewfinder.  After some less than pleasing results, I challenged myself to keep my camera on manual mode and thus “force” me to get comfortable with that “old school” way of taking photographs.

That challenge totally changed my photos, and after almost 11 years of experience, I still use manual mode most of the time.

Why I Use Manual Mode?

Why on earth would I use manual mode with a state of the art camera at my disposal? Shouldn’t it be smart enough to take great pictures without any input from me?

The simple answer is “No!” Cameras are not smart enough to take great pictures all on their own ALL the time.

The truth is that your camera and all those high-tech formulas that make up your camera can get tricked really easily.  Your camera doesn’t have a brain.  It doesn’t know what to exposure for unless you tell it.

Then Why Did I Pay for All Those Fancy Buttons?

I am not saying that there isn’t a place for some of the other shooting modes on your camera dial.  What I am saying is that in order to get the best possible result, you need to know how your camera works and be IN CONTROL of what it is doing when you are taking photographs.

Let me say that a different way. To get a great outcome, you need to know enough about your camera and what goes into a good exposure so you know when to take control and when to let the camera take over.

What I Hope You Learn From This Series

My goal for this series of posts is to help you take matters into your own hands and better control that beautiful piece of equipment you spent lots of money on!!

Locate for Next Time!

Until the next post, I am giving you a list of buttons to locate on your camera.  They are listed below with photos to help you find them.

Exposure Dial: This is how you will turn on Manual Mode so we need to know where this is.  The "M" stands for Manual!

Command Dial: You will use this important dial to adjust your aperture and shutter speed.

Camera Manual: You will need this in order to learn how to adjust your aperture, shutter speed, and ISO.  Dig it out and see if you can figure out how to adjust those settings on your camera.

Don't Miss the Next Posts in This Series!

I hope this series has helped you Master Shooting in Manual Mode.  If you’ve missed any of the posts in the series, you can go back and read/review them at any time by following these links!


1. 7 Days to Mastering Manual Mode: Why Shoot in Manual Mode

2. 7 Days To Mastering Manual Mode: Letting Light In!

3. 7 Days to Mastering Manual MOde: What is Aperture?

4. 7 Days to Mastering Manual Mode: What is Shutter Speed?

5. 7 Days to Mastering Manual Mode: Understanding ISO?

6. 7 Days to Mastering Manual Mode: Putting it All Together

7. 7 Days to Mastering Manual Mode: Practicing Your Way to Perfection



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