7 TIPS FOR SHOOTING IN MANUAL

Are you confused about what RAW capture is?

I remember I certainly was when I bought my first DSLR!  In my photography courses, programmes and workshops I only teach students how to shoot manual.  Why?  It simply provides the key that opens the door that takes you from your comfort zone and into the creative zone – this space is where the magic happens – it may be uncomfortable at first, but see these as growing pains.  Stick with it and it will become your best friend.  You won’t even think about it.  By shooting completely Manual, you will find that door that has been locked to you is open wide.

Another point to bear in mind is that if you don’t use manual, then think of all that money you have spent for that facility is wasted… not to mention how much of your creativity you aren’t able to access.

Always remember this, whenever you pick up your camera…

SLOW DOWN – LESS BUT BETTER

7 TIPS FOR SHOOTING IN MANUAL

1 UNDERSTANDING DEPTH OF FIELD.

So many of my students struggle with this.  If you see DoF or Depth of Field mentioned – don’t panic that you don’t understand.  Simply think of it as Depth of Focus.  You can control the of your photograph that is in focus from front to back and more – you can pinpoint where you actually want that focus to be.  More of this later…

2 BACKGROUNDS

Do you want your background to be sharp or blurred? The aperture setting controls the size of the hole the light falls through thus again determining the amount of light falling on the sensor.  Aperture settings control the Depth of Field – Depth of Focus mentioned in number one.  Different lenses will have different numbers – at the very extreme, f2.8 will give a more blurry background and f32 will give a sharp background. To use depth of field in manual is so much easier than in semi-automatic as you can control both the shutter speed and aperture without taking your eye away from the camera.

3 SHOOT IN RAW

The simple answer here is that RAW files contain a lot more information. With Jpeg files, your camera – the computer inside does the processing for you – so you are allowing it to second guess what you are seeing in your minds eye!  Computers are not creative – they think in 1’s and 0’s.  In black and white.  They don’t know about all the shades in between.  This is where shooting RAW comes in.  RAW files have much more depth to them, much more information that you can alter to align with your vision.  This will be done in your editing software – the same as you would use to edit your jepgs.  By choosing to shoot RAW, you are able to access that illusive creative zone.

4 CREATIVE EXPOSURE

Once you work in the Creative Zone by shooting on Manual then you will be smudging boundaries and breaking rules that aren’t really rules at all.  Take exposure – there is absolutely nothing that is correct exposure, apart from what you see it to be in your mind.  When you look through your viewfinder and see the exposure compensation guide – there will be 0 in the middle then minus and plus on either side.  Think of 0 as merely an average – if you are wanting dark and moody then explore the minus and if you are wanting bright and airy then look at the plus settings. 

5 PICK YOUR FOCAL POINT

This is a really important reason to get away from your comfort zone and using your camera as a point and shoot camera – the focal point cannot be altered by editing.  When you shoot in Manual,  you have control over the focus and you have control over where your want the focal point to be…

It is very simple to do – simply choose the focal point that you wish to be in focus, semi press the shutter release button and whilst holding it down, simply reframe your shot then press the button down fully to take the photograph.

6  THINK WHAT YOUR SHUTTER SPEED CAN DO FOR YOUR PHOTOGRAPHS

This is how long your shutter is open for… You can have pin sharp photographs or introduce some movement with blur – it will be your choice.  Pop your camera on a tripod and spend an afternoon playing with this to see what you can find!  I often suggest a cable release here – the sort that plugs into your camera side.  This will ensure less camera shake for pin sharp images if your tripod is a little spongy.  So many of my clients are camera shy, so I use a longer shutter speed introduce some blur on a sharp background.  

7 BECOME BEST FRIENDS WITH YOUR CAMERA

By actually deciding that you are going to get to know your camera better and actually understanding everything works is possibly the greatest step you can take to becoming a better photographer.  Find your instruction manual to find out where the various buttons are on your particular camera.  By really understanding how things work and being able to use all the controls without having to think so often the only barrier that stops you being really creative with your image making.  This is possibly the key that will open that door from your comfort zone to your creative zone – where the magic happens.

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About Julie Davenport

JULIE DAVENPORT is a Fine Art Lifestyle Photographer, a Creative and generous in sharing tips and hints for Photography, Creativity and a Creative Lifestyle. She has one goal – to inspire and empower creatives and aspiring photographers with heart centred education, support and encouragement to guide them to achieve their vision. Known for her signature style painterly touch and love of light and elegant composition, she draws much of her inspiration from Scandinavian painters and the seasonal rhythms of country life in her beloved Cotswold countryside in the UK. After a lifetime spent in photography, her work has now grown into a full time photography and education business - specialising in professional online training and inspiring other creatives, designers, makers and photographers. Through her depth of knowledge of her subject and unwavering passion, she has become THE authority for creative souls looking for heart centred education, support and encouragement to guide them through to achieve their vision.