Tutorial Tuesday: (M) Shooting in manual

I know, it's not Tuesday...I've been behind, and still today I am trying to catch up. Designing 8 logos and just finished editing sessions, before I have more to edit this weekend :) 
So on to the belated tutorial.
This is just the way I shoot in manual, it is not a hard set of rules, merely guidelines and showing how I do it. There is often no reason to my madness other than it works great for me, and makes sense in my head.

Aperture: The main function of a camera lens is to collect light. The aperture of a lens is the diameter of the lens opening and is usually controlled by an iris. The larger the diameter of the aperture, the more light reaches the film / image sensor.
 I set my aperture based on my subject: One subject I try to keep my aperture no higher than f5.6  for small groups up to 4 I love f5.6-f7, for larger groups up to f11.
The lower number means a larger aperture. What that means is the little number lets in a lot of light. The higher numbers let in less light. 

ISO-What ISO denotes is how sensitive the image sensor is to the amount of light present. The higher the ISO, the more sensitive the image sensor and therefore the possibility to take pictures in low-light situations.
 The lower ISO number the less noise and less light you will be letting in.
The higher ISO number will produce more noise and let in more light.

Natural light outdoors: I've taught myself to read the light, I can tell the strength of it just by observing the area. There are a few types of light outdoors, open shade, sunrise/sunset, full sun, overcast. Learn to read the light and it will save your sanity. By reading the light you can set your ISO.

Full sun- 100
Overcast- 100
Open shade-200
Natural light indoor-200-400

Shutter speed- represents the time that the shutter remains open when taking a photograph.
Slower shutter speeds let more light in, there is also a higher chance of motion blur.
Faster shutter speed lets in less light, less chance of blur.

Now that you know what each setting is, now to put it to use.
 My manual set up:
Natural light: I set my aperture based on my subject(s), set my ISO based on lighting and adjust my shutter speed to properly expose my images.
Studio lighting: set ISO to lowest number, set shutter for sync speed (I suggest 125), adjust aperture to properly expose images.


  1. Thank you so much for this tutorial. Love it!

  2. Thanks for taking the time to still post a tutorial! Very helpful! One question so that I'm not reading it wrong. I understand large aperture = small/low f/stop number but when you say "One subject I try to keep my aperture no higher than f5.6," is higher referring to the f/stop? Just want to make sure I got it right. If photography wasn't so goofy with f/stop and aperture being opposite, it'd be so much easier for me! :)

    Thanks for your help!

  3. As always, amazing! Thanks so much!

  4. Love it! Thanks! I think your madness will work for my madness too :)

  5. Thanks Morgan :) I almost missed this tutorial.

  6. Thank you for the tutorial. Any tips on how to take sharp photos without using a tripod? What the aperture, shutter should be? When to use P mode?


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