Shooting In Manual Mode: The Starter Kit [Infographic]

I was hanging out in one of my blogging groups the other day, and people were discussing things they wanted to do to improve their photography. One thing that popped up a few times was switching to manual mode, and how daunting that seemed.

Photo by Mia Domenico
Photo by Mia Domenico

I am here to tell you that I thought the same thing until I actually went for it. Shooting in manual mode allows you access to a larger number of settings than automatic modes, so you can have fun adjusting all of them. But the thing is — you don’t have to, your first time shooting in manual, or ever if you don’t see the need for it! Shooting in manual mode can be as simple as 1-2-3.

Infographic design by Lix Hewett


Shooting in Manual Mode: The Starter Kit

Lesson #1: It doesn’t have to be a big deal.

Lesson #2: You can get away with adjusting only four settings.

Those settings are these:

  1. Shutter Speed
    … 3″ …… 1/10 …… 1/500 …
    slow —————————————— fast
    bright ————————————— dark
  2. Aperture
    … f/1 …… f5 …… f12 …
    shallow — depth of field — deep
    bright ———————————— dark
    faster ——————————— slower
    Note: Shallow depth of field  = bokeh!
  3. ISO
    … 100 …… 800 …… 3200 …
    slow —————————————— fast
    dark ———————————— bright
    clear ———————————— grainy
    Note: Remember you can add grain but you can’t take it back!
  4. White Balance
    … 3000K ….. 5000K ….. 8000K …
    (temperature measurements)
    colder —————————— warmer
    bluer ——————————— redder
    Tip: If you shoot RAW, you can adjust the white balance in post-processing.
    Note: The default AWB (a = auto) works a lot of the time! Adjust if your pics are coming out red or blue.

Click on the following link to find out 6 things to learn after manual mode.

Further Reading

LCD screen mockup based on Canon EOS 450D
Design and words by Lix Hewett · for Photodoto ·

By Lix Hewett

Lix Hewett is a multi-passionate creative: photographer (fine art and freelance), model, graphic designer and writer. She lives in London. You can connect with her through her blog or any of her social media accounts.