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7 Days to Mastering Manual Mode: Practice Your Way to Perfection

7 Days to Mastering Manual Mode: Practice Your Way to Perfection

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To be completely honest, this is the most unglamorous part of teaching people to shoot in manual mode.  No one wants to hear that they are going to have to practice over and over to get this down.  We want everything now.  We want to read about it one day and be perfect at it the next. But the truth is that you are going to need to practice this over and over for a while before you get it down perfectly.  And then, you are going to have to practice some more before you can do it quickly during...

7 Days to Mastering Manual Mode: Putting it All Together

7 Days to Mastering Manual Mode: Putting it All Together

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Light Meter To get the perfect exposure, the perfect amount of light has to hit your sensor.  If you let in too little light, your photographs will be dark and generally gray-looking.  If you let in too much light, your photos will be very bright and generally washed-out in color. You control how much light hits the sensor using Aperture, Shutter Speed, and ISO. We’ve talked about these three in our last 3 posts, so hopefully these aren’t new words for you.   We use the in-camera light meter to help us get the perfect exposure.  Your light meter looks...

7 Days to Mastering Manual Mode: Understanding ISO

7 Days to Mastering Manual Mode: Understanding ISO

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What is ISO? ISO measures the sensitivity of the camera sensor to light.   The term ISO is from the days of film.  Film is made up of little crystal grains.  At ISO 100 or 200, those crystal grains are very tiny and need more light to expose them.  With ISO 1600 or 3200 film, the crystal grains are larger and thus need less light to expose them. The trade off is that the larger crystal grains are more noticeable and photos are less smooth. Digital cameras have ISO equivalents.  However, with digital cameras it isn’t crystal grains that become...

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

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

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What is Shutter Speed? Shutter speed is another way to let light in the camera.  I think shutter speed is a little more straight forward than aperture.  The shutter is what “clicks” when you press the button to take a picture.  Basically, it is a little curtain in the camera body that opens to let light in and then closes to stop the camera from recording more light.   The speed that it opens and closes is what determines how much light the camera records.  A shutter speed of 1/60 will record more light than a shutter speed of 1/1000....

7 Days to Mastering Manual Mode: What is Aperture?

7 Days to Mastering Manual Mode: What is Aperture?

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What is Aperture? Aperture is like the pupil part of the eye.  It can be opened up or closed down depending on how much light you want to enter the camera. When you are in a low-light situation you want the aperture opened up as much as possible. In bright situations you have the option to close the aperture down to let in less light. F-Stop An f-stop is the number on your camera that tells how open or close the aperture is. The most confusing thing about aperture and f-stop is the smaller f-stop number the larger the aperture...

7 Days to Mastering Manual Mode: Letting Light In

7 Days to Mastering Manual Mode: Letting Light In

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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...

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

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

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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...

Mastering Manual Mode + Getting It Right In Camera (Free Notes)

Mastering Manual Mode + Getting It Right In Camera (Free Notes)

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The Exposure Triangle This “triangle” is really a balance or formula that gets utilized every time a picture is taken. Like the three sides/angles of a triangle, there are three components to the exposure triangle. 1. ISO—how sensitive your camera is to light 2. Aperture—how open/closed your lens is 3. Shutter speed—how fast/slow your lens opens and closes ISO: International Organization of Standardization For film cameras, it was how sensitive a particular film was to light. For a digital camera, it is how sensitive our camera sensor is to light. Examples: Outdoors in sunshine = ISO 100 Outdoors in overcast light = ISO...

The Newbie Chronicles: Shooting in Manual

The Newbie Chronicles: Shooting in Manual

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A couple weeks ago, one of my close friends came over with a CD. Her mom had paid someone to take family pictures, but apparently they hadn’t turned out too spectacularly, and she was hoping I could do a little editing. I popped the CD into my computer, started to look through the images and wanted to cry. The pictures were awful. Not only were they awful, but when I opened them in Photoshop the images were the size of a fingernail. There was nothing I could do. I called my friend and asked if she wanted to schedule a...

How Can Spot Metering‏ Help You?

How Can Spot Metering‏ Help You?

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Have you ever been in a situation where you are surrounded by uneven, harsh, dark, bright, and just overall inconsistent light? I’m sure you have, as this type of situation is all-too-common if you are not shooting in a studio. Thankfully, your camera has a handy spot-metering tool that allows you to get the proper exposure on your subject.  You can spot-meter in Manual mode, as well as the priority modes. Personally, I prefer to spot-meter in Manual mode, as it gives me the most control if I want to over/under expose more than my camera suggests. To turn on...

Free Download: Getting Started With Your DSLR 101

Free Download: Getting Started With Your DSLR 101

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We are so excited to offer you this exclusive FREE download!  Enjoy learning about: √ Aperture  √ Shutter Speed  √ Aperture Priority Mode  √ Shutter Priority  √ Manual Mode  √ ISO Ways you can share:  1. We would love to have this shared with others!  You can click the “Share” button on our facebook post.  2. Use Twitter more often?  Great!  You can click here to instantly share about our free gift.  We’ve already written it out for you.  It takes just 2 seconds!  3. Feel free to also “Pin It” to your Pinterest Boards.  You can find the “Pin It” button...

Back Button Focusing Tips

Back Button Focusing Tips

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What is Back Button Focusing? A handy feature on your camera you may not be familiar with is back button focus, often referred to as back button AF. When using this feature, a button on the back of your camera (hence the name, back button!) is used to lock in the focus of your shot, rather than having to continuously press the shutter button halfway, then shoot. Basically, the feature removes Autofocus from the shutter button and transfers it to a button on the back of your camera. All of the current DSLRs being manufactured by Nikon and Canon's EOS line have...