April 21, 2020

Manual Mode Crash Course

Mastering Manual Mode

The dreaded switch from auto to manual on your camera, we’ve ALL been there! But what you don’t typically hear about, is how to make the switch. That is what I intend to teach you today! I want to bridge the gap for you and make your transition from auto to manual as easy as clicking a button (pun intended hehe). It is important to understand what i’m about to teach you is just the beginning of learning manual mode and this is not an all inclusive list, but with this information, you should be able to learn it much quicker!

So lets just jump right into it, shall we?! Here are the TOP three things you MUST know in order to begin shooting in manual mode.


I think this one is quite possibly the easiest to understand and understand well. I want you to think of ISO as how much light your camera is contributing. Think of this as your camera’s dimmer light (LOL) you can increase it and decrease it depending on how much light you need. Here are a couple example situations.

If it is a sunny day, your ISO will likely be LOWER, probably around ISO 150 or ISO 200.

So essentially, if it is already naturally brighter outside, you don’t want your camera to contribute a ton of light because your image will be blown out, therefore you need to have a lower ISO.

If you are shooting something like a reception, your ISO will likely need to be higher, maybe something like ISO 1000 or higher.

One really important thing to keep in mind, the higher the ISO, the grainer your image is going to be, and that is not something you can just “photoshop” out!


This one is a little tricker than ISO but i’m going to break it down for you! I want you to think of that as your pupil! Aperture is how much is in focus and how much light is coming into the camera. So unlike ISO, you have to think of those two things when you’re playing around with Aperture. Have you ever seen a photo with a blurry background and wondered, “how the heck do they do that?!”, its APERTURE! I’ve got a couple examples for you!

You want a brighter and blurrier background and you don’t have too many people in your photo. You will want to DROP your f stop, also known as your aperture. So it will be something like F/1.4, which will leave you with a creamy, blurry background.

It is important to remember that you have to increase your f stop if you’re going to photograph a group of people, otherwise, they all won’t be in focus. It is also a good idea to increase your f stop a bit when you’re photographing wedding details.

Shutter Speed

Shutter speed is the length of time the sensor of your camera is exposed to light. This is seen on your camera as 1/number. I want you to think of this as blinking your eyes. So the shorter time in between blinks would be less light coming in. The longer time in between you blinking will essentially be letting in more light. So here is a scenario for you…

1/60 shutter speed = blinking shorter amount of time -> letting in more light. This is good for darker situations.

1/500 = blinking quicker -> less light coming in. This is good for brighter situations!

OKAY, you made it through my crash course of mastering manual mode, now i’m giving YOU homework! I want you to try it out and then I want you to tell me about your experience! Email me or DM me to tell me about how it is going!

I cant wait to hear about your journey!

xo, Emily

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