How to start shooting in Manual Mode? Photography tips by Ben Hoppen

Manual Mode

How to start shooting in Manual Mode? Photography tips by Ben Hoppen

If you have just bought a camera and only know how to use its automatic or standard functions, here is the best way to understand how to get the most out of your camera in Manual Mode.

Why should you use Manual Mode? Take control of your camera

Manual mode on the camera is the only way to gain full control of the exposure triangle variables.

The advantages of the manual mode are;

You can create Bokeh, which is an artistic photo with blurred circles of light.
You can create the shot in any way you want. For example, you can blur the subject or keep it sharp
You can control how light or dark you want the image
You are in control of any creative angle you want to shoot at.

How to shoot in Manual Mode?

Start by leading back to your light meter on your camera

Before I explain the steps on how to do this it’s best to tell the three words on each corner of the exposure triangle;


Manual Mode - Photography tips

A hole within a lens, through which light travels into the camera body. The larger the opening, the more light passes to the camera sensor. Aperture also controls the depth of field, which is a part of the frame that appears to be sharp. If the Aperture is small, the depth of field is more significant, while if the aperture is large, the depth of field is small.

Shutter Speed

shutter speed manual mode

The length of time a camera shutter is open to expose light into the camera sensor. Shutter speeds typically measure in fractions of a second. Slow shutter speeds allow more light into the camera sensor and are used for low-light and night photography when you want a blur. A faster shutter speeds help freeze motion.


iso manual mode

Refers to how sensitive the digital sensor in your camera is to light. The lower the ISO number, the less sensitive it is to light, which would suit you for shooting outside or in a well-lit area. Setting a higher ISO number increases the sensitivity of your camera sensor to light and would suit you for shooting at night or in a place with low light such as a dark room.

And finally the steps…

Set your aperture – that way if you are trying to get an out of focus or an entirely sharp background you would have control over that.
Set your shutter speed – TIP: If you wanted a still sharp image try not going below 1/125 as you could end up with an unintended blur going at a lower shutter speed; if your light meter is not where I want it after adjusting your aperture and shutter speed, then you should…
3. Change your ISO – try to do this one last just because ideally you would like your ISO to stay at the lowest number possible to ensure the best quality and no grain in your images. However, unless your shooting in shallow light or at night without lights you can control your exposure using just the aperture and shutter speed.

Shutter speed – slow shutter speed probably around 1/8 to paint the light around the room.

Aperture – Small aperture – f.2.8 or below to achieve the bokeh in the shot, only keeping the table in focus.

With Manual Mode, so many variables can be created. You can work with different techniques in photography such as light painting or working with DIY creative lens filters.

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