Your camera needs light in order to make beautiful photographs.
And, it needs just the right amount of light to make a nicely exposed photograph.
The Big Three
Your camera has three ways of letting light in--the aperture, the camera shutter, and the sensitivity of the sensor (ISO). I call these the Big 3. Balancing these three to let in the right amount of light is what shooting in manual mode is all about.
Your camera’s light meter is how you work to balance the Big 3. The light meter will look something like this:
When your light meter has lines or dots toward the “+” symbol it is a sign your photo is moving toward overexposed. When your light meter is moving toward the “-” sign your photo is moving toward being underexposed.
Using the Lightmeter to Balance the Big Three
We use the lightmeter to let us know if we have too much light or too little. The goal is to have it somewhere near the middle. Balancing the three of these things is like balancing on a 3-way teeter totter. If you let in more light one way, you will need to reduce the amount of light you let in through one of the other ways. If you let in less light one way, you will need to increase the amount of light you let in through one of the other ways.
See. It’s a game.
One Final Note
Manual Mode is NOT Manual Focus! When we are talking about shooting in manual mode, I know that some get confused and feel like when we shoot in manual mode that includes manual focus. We are not talking about manual focus. That is something totally different. Continue letting your camera autofocus! That is what I do 95% of the time!
Don't Miss the Other posts in this Series!