31+ Days Of Photography Experiments – Halfway! Are You Ready For Manual?

Congratulations! We’re halfway through 31+ Days Of Photography Experiments.

If you’ve been following the series day in and day out, you know that I’ve been pushing toward more use of manual settings. By no means is Manual mode required to take great photos these days, because the only three things you need for a great photo are ISO, Aperture and Shutter Speed (oh, and some White Balance settings and post-production as well). Which mode you use to get ther doesn’t matter to me.

There are certainly advantages to using Manual mode, not the least of which is during the early learning phases of photography. If you’re reading this post, chances are you’re learning and I would like to encourage you to start using Manual mode if you haven’t been already.

The reason for this is it will initially slow you down, which is good. Slow, thoughtful actions now will lead to quicker, instinctive actions later. Think of Daniel in the Karate Kid (yes, this analogy again). He starts out slow, with basic concepts and then builds speed through practice until he kicks another kid in the face and wins the admiration of everyone. We’re going for that minus the ‘kick a kid in the face’ part.

From this point forward, for the next 18 experiments, I’m suggesting for you to only use Manual mode and I will assume as much. None of these experiments require terribly fast decision making, so take it slow and if you fail, try again. Every professional photographer, and especially the guys and gals you see in top-market magazines and websites, has 100 times (or more) bad or lackluster photos for every high impact, stellar image they show the world at large.

Things To Consider

  • Shooting in Manual mode will help you better understand the interplay between shutter speed, ISO and aperture.
  • You will learn the limits of your camera, which is important going forward.
  • You will learn to take creative control away from your 18% gray, boring, average Auto mode.
  • It slows you down initially, which is help in this stage.
  • Some people like to brag that they shoot in Manual. If bragging is important to you, you’ll have this ace in your hand.

Give it a try. It won’t hurt and you’ll likely learn something along the way!

31+ Days Of Photography Experiments is a series written by professional photographer Peter West Carey on The Carey Adventures.Com. The series is designed to unravel the mysteries of photography so you can take better pictures through practical experiments on the material found in 31+ Days To Better Photography. Subscribe here to receive all the updates and bonus material. Your comments are always welcome.

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