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Shooting in Manual with a DSLR Camera

A Quick Overview of Shooting in Manual Mode

Over the years, the most requested tutorial we get is "How to Shoot in Manual Mode". It’s that all powerful yet all confusing “M” setting on your camera dial, which many beginners find to be too difficult to figure out, so they stay in auto mode and never experience the endless possibilities of what their camera is really capable of.

So, whether you’re an aspiring professional photographer, a hobbyist, or a mom or dad who wants to take better pictures of your kids, it will definitely pay off to learn some basic skills of shooting in manual mode.

First off, let me say that this article is just a very brief overview. To gain a full understanding of how to get the most out of your camera, definitely be sure to check out the rest of our posts and videos, which can be found HERE.

There are three basic functions that you need to understand in order to grasp shooting in manual mode, those being shutter speed, aperture and ISO.

Now let’s start out by being clear about one thing that all of these functions have in common...they all affect the brightness of an image. Changing any one of these settings apart from the others will either darken or brighten your image. The thing to understand is that they do it in different ways that have a huge impact on your final image.

Also, keep in mind, that one of the great things about learning these functions is that they’re exactly the same from one camera to another, regardless of brand name. If you learn these functions on one camera, you’ll be able to use them on any other camera.

To start out, here is a very basic definition of each manual function:

Shutter Speed – How fast the image is captured.

Aperture – How much light is allowed through the lens and depth of field. 

ISO – How sensitive the sensor or film is to light.

Again, these are just definitions. To better understand how all three settings work together, be sure to check out our other tutorials on shutter speed, aperture, ISO and the exposure triangle.

The graphic below shows the steps for shooting in manual.

Check out the video below where I explain a little further what it takes to shoot in manual mode with your DSLR camera

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So much good information! I wish I had a photographic memory lol


Love this, very cool!


This is what I struggle most with!


Victoria Fricke
Victoria Fricke
Nov 15, 2020

That baby photo! Love the layout on that!


Thanks this helped me a lot!

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