Posted by: David Vernon | October 2, 2008

Going Manual

Sunset FieldsMost new photographers make a progression as they get used to their cameras. They start out on full automatic – letting the camera make pretty much all the decisions. Cameras are pretty smart nowadays but they can’t really infer your creative intent. You want a moody silhouette, the camera wants a little fill flash.

You assert yourself and you move to Program mode. You start making decisions over aperture or shutter speed. You’re feeling pretty good about the move but still, things are a stop over or a stop under. You’re close but you’re not quite the master yet.

Finally you find the courage to jump – you go full manual. It’s daunting at first but then things start to click and suddenly you’re soloing – and it’s great. You have arrived.

But dude – seriously – why’d you have to find the courage to jump? Going manual is A LOT easier then you think – and yes – the rewards are worth it.

And wouldn’t it be nice if there was a nice primer on how to control the three primary elements of manual shooting? Wait no longer my faithful readers – there’s just such a thing – courtesy of the the clever folks at the Digital Photography School and photographer Natalie Norton. Check out all you ever wanted to know about Aperture, Shutter Speed, and ISO. Once you get command of these, you’ll be off and running.

Part I: Aperture

Pare II: Shutter Speed


And I’ll tell you what. Since you’re all pretty smart and these topics are not so complex, let’s throw a bonus out there for you. A little extra credit to get you rolling in the right direction:

Extra Credit: Basic Daylight Exposure

Okay – once we get you going on the secret handshake, we’ll be all set. That’s for a subsequent post though – just go master these first.


  1. […] are clearly understood. I think we’ve gotten most of the way there, but don’t forget this post from a few weeks ago that covers all of that and […]

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