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How to Shoot Manual on Your Camera in 10 Minutes

Embrace manual mode and expand the creativity of your photography
Photo of manual mode on a camera

Using the camera’s manual mode can be intimidating to novice photographers. What beginner hasn’t looked at that imposing camera dial, seen the letter M (for Manual) and quickly flipped it to P (Program) or A (fully Automatic.)?

To be honest, it’s happened to all of us and while there are good reasons for using P or A modes in a pinch, you shouldn’t be afraid of shooting Manual. Not only is it a great way to discover how your camera works, it will help you expand your creativity. In a nutshell, Manual gives you creative options to explore with your imagery.

If you want to get over your fear of M, the excellent beginner photography tutorial below titled “How to Shoot Manual in 10 Minutes,” is a good place to start. Led by photographer Hyun Ralph Jeong, the video walks you through how to “take the training wheels off” your camera with Manual.

“This is probably one of the most popular topics for beginners,” Jeong explains. “You might be here because you just bought yourself your first camera or maybe you’ve been doing photography for a while, but you want to take your photography to the next level. If you’re not shooting manual because you don’t know how, you’re really not going to go far as a photographer. There’s no reason not to learn because it’s so easy.”

Jeong’s tutorial is not the most comprehensive guide we’ve seen to shooting in Manual, but it presents a solid introduction to the basics. Because the video is just around ten minutes long, you won’t get overwhelmed with too much excessive detail.

He begins with a discussion of the three most important aspects of shooting in Manual: Aperture, Shutter Speed, and ISO. Then he explains each one, sharing examples of how adjusting these settings – which together are often referred to as “the exposure triangle” – affect the look of an image.

To show you how powerful these manual settings can be to your photography, he concludes with a comparison of what an image looks like when shot using full Auto and then when using Manual. As you’ll see, the Auto mode captures a somewhat bland but acceptable image with little effort. Shooting Manual, on the other hand, takes more work but it lets you get the look of the photo you wanted.

“Shooting manual gives the photographer the full control so you can take your camera’s ability to its full potential in any situations,” he concludes.

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