5 Reasons to Shoot in Manual

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When I first got my camera I swore to never use the Auto function.  I wanted to learn how to do everything manually because I wanted complete control over my camera settings.  My husband likes to joke that I’m too controlling for my own good when it comes to these types of things, and he’s probably right.  But my philosophy is that if you’re going to do it you should do it right.  I felt that if we were going to spend so much money on a camera, I would be doing myself an injustice if I didn’t learn how to properly use it.  And so I pushed myself in those first few months to read and learn all that I could so that I could shoot in manual mode.

It’s been a year and a half and I’m still learning and still pushing myself to get better every day.  But I think I’ve finally learned enough information to be able to pass it on to others in hopes that they’ll learn from my past mistakes.  So, if you’re ready to take the leap from Auto to Manual mode, continue reading my friends!  Because today I’m talking about the five reasons to make the switch.

Using manual mode on your camera can be scary if you aren't ready to get out of auto. Find out if you're ready to shoot in manual with these 5 facts today!

1.  You choose the focal point.

In photography, the focal point is the origin of the story.  When in auto the camera chooses the focus of your photo for you, and it may not be exactly what you want.  In Manual you can choose the tiny feet of a newborn baby, the words on a bench, or the petals on the flower. The options are infinite!

Using manual mode on your camera can be scary if you aren't ready to get out of auto. Find out if you're ready to shoot in manual with these 5 facts today!

2.  No harsh flash.

Shooting in auto means that your camera will choose all your settings for you.  If you are in a place with low lighting that means your camera’s flash will pop up to illuminate your subject. The camera’s flash is often unflattering and leaves your subjects with washed out skin and red or closed eyes.

Example of Auto Mode with Flash:

Using manual mode on your camera can be scary if you aren't ready to get out of auto. Find out if you're ready to shoot in manual with these 5 facts today!
In this case, the flash reflected off of my husband’s glasses leaving large white dots on his face.  It also completely blacked out the background so you have no idea that Cinderella’s Castle is behind us.  The ideal situation would’ve been to either use an off-camera flash or had our picture taken when it was still light out (hindsight is 50/50 isn’t it?).

3.  Achieve the coveted blurred backgrounds

Photographers love bokeh and blurred backgrounds, especially for portraits.  They isolate and draw your attention to the subject of your photo.  You can achieve these effects easily with a low aperture (more on that next week), and the lower your aperture the more blur you will have.

Using manual mode on your camera can be scary if you aren't ready to get out of auto. Find out if you're ready to shoot in manual with these 5 facts today!

4.  Have complete control over the amount of light in your pictures

I took a photography class last March where the teacher said that light was not important in photography,  If you have someone tell you that, walk away from them.  They obviously have no idea what they’re talking about because light is the most important part of photography!  In Manual, you have complete control over how much light enters through your lens.  It’s one of the best things about photography because there are so many options!

Example of using light to my advantage:

Using manual mode on your camera can be scary if you aren't ready to get out of auto. Find out if you're ready to shoot in manual with these 5 facts today!In this particular photo I chose to focus on the sunset which underexposed Cinderella’s Castle.  By doing this, I was able to get a beautiful silhouette of the parks icon.

5.  Capture amazing nighttime photos

Probably my favorite type of photography is capturing landscape photos at night.  Using Auto, capturing a good night photo isn’t possible because the flash will pop up and completely wash out whatever is in the background.  And even if you turn off the flash while in Auto your entire picture will be so dark you won’t even be able to see what you were taking a photo of in the first place.  I love using my tripod along with Manual mode to capture colorful and evenly lit photographs.

Using manual mode on your camera can be scary if you aren't ready to get out of auto. Find out if you're ready to shoot in manual with these 5 facts today!

So, have I convinced you to switch to Manual yet?  If you’re ready to learn how to take control of your camera, make sure to stop by next week for a lesson on Aperture!  I hope to see you there!

And if you’re just catching up on my Break Up With Auto series, check out last weeks introduction post!

0 Comments

  1. Loving this series, Teresa! Thanks so much for the advice. I completely agree with all of your reasons for using manual. I only use auto when I am rushing to get a photo done for a blog post, but most of the time, it is manual for me. I can’t wait to see what you share next. Thanks, again.

    1. Thank you so much Heather! I’m so glad you’re loving this series. I too only use Auto when I’m in a bind, but I’m normally all manual all the time.

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