Going Manual


posted on 25th of july, 2011

I started shooting pictures in college back in the day when you used a light meter, everything on the camera was manual and post processing consisted of a bit of dodging and burning on the enlarger. Needless to say the move to digital has been full of learning curves, mostly figuring out what all the camera can do and how to make adjustments to have it do what I want.

The one bit of advice I have is not to be afraid to go back to manual. Just because the camera and it's little micro chips can make all the decisions for you doesn't neccesarily mean it should. Yo'ure the photographer and the camera is a tool and you should be making the decisions on how a particular shot should come out.

My best example is trying to shoot macro. The camera has numerous focal points and even if you set it to one it won't focus on anything if you don't frame you subject in the center of the picture. Here's a fine time to turn off the auto focus and do it yourself. This gives you the opportunity to fine tune the focus exactly where you want it on the subject, whether that be the center or some small detail.

I have also played around with the aperture manually and still need to do more with that. My advice, don't be afraid of going back to the good old days of manual setting even on today's high end digital cameras. You may be surprised at the results.

Comments (6)

Posted by Kaphoto on July 27, 2011
yaa...I remember those endless nights in darkroom..now i feel more comfortable spending those nights on computer, while touching and developing those images...I feel these are more exciting times, that was good then, this is good now...!!!
Posted by Karenfoleyphotography on July 26, 2011
The creation of word processors didn't make us all writers ... cameras are only the tools - the photog is still the artist. Thanks for reminding us to back to basics every now and then.
Posted by Mary981 on July 25, 2011
lol egomezta! I still think that "everyone" who wants to be "almost a pro" gets bored or frustrated after they get about 10 pictures accepted! They realize that it's way too much work and too much to learn. They go back to their day job and pull out their giant cameras they don't know how to use and show them off at family reunions.
Posted by Egomezta on July 25, 2011
Everything has changed, and everyone can now be "almost a pro" just by getting a good camera.
Posted by Bradcalkins on July 25, 2011
Focus is the best place to start to get control of your camera. The auto select mode is usually pretty good in predictable conditions with a kit lens, but once you go wider on the aperture it can start to detract rather than add to your photos.

Macro focus in live view is the one time I do like manual focus, the rest of the time I find it hard to achieve good focus with today's focusing screens optimized for AF.

Manual exposure control is also very useful, and involves the photographer more, but there is no shame is using auto exposure! f/8 @ 1/125s is the same exposure whether you manually set it or pick program. To me it is 'manual' exposure as long as you are paying attention to what settings are being used, whether set to P, M, Av or with some dialed in exposure compensation. For example, on a bright sunny day I know I'll get lots of depth of field whether I set the camera to P, to 1/250s in shutter priority, or f/16 in aperture priority... Some people meter off a gray card,...(More)
Posted by Vilaimages on July 25, 2011
Yep, I remember those days...now we take bracketed exposures and see the results instantaneously on the monitor... :)



Comments (6)

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Photo credits: Petarneychev, Tonny Anwar.

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