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Monday, April 4, 2011

Shooting in Manual is Easier Than You Think

Today's guest blogger is Kimberly Gauthier, Through the Lens of Kimberly Gauthier . When I starting shooting with a Digital SLR camera, I toyed with the idea of shooting in manual (that’s what the pros did) and then I’d talk myself out of it. I was intimated by the settings; most of which I didn’t understand. I didn’t have the time. If I tried, I’d miss the shot. So I learned to shoot in aperture priority mode instead.


Guess what! All of these excuses were valid. Why? Because we’re learning at our own pace and it’s not always easy. Have you tried to understand some of the photography books out there? Shooting in manual, if you’re committed, can be as easy as breathing (sort of).


I started shooting in manual a year ago. My boyfriend shared what he learned in a forensics photography class. By the end of the day, I was finally creating photographs like a pro! This is what I knew I could do! I want to share with you the steps I took to make the transition to shooting in manual.


Dial over to the M and keep it there. I know it’s tempting to let the camera choose some of the settings, but that’s not what manual is about.




Take your camera everywhere (that’s appropriate). I took my camera to work, to restaurants, and to hang out with friends. I took every opportunity to photograph the most random things; in manual.


It’s okay to miss the shot. It is not the end of the world if you miss a shot. It’s not a wedding, it’s just you and your camera – so take your time, relax, adjust your settings, and shoot away.



Celebrate the crappy shots. With every bad shot I took, I was able to shout “duhhhh” and tell you exactly what I did wrong.


Choose your jumping off settings. These are the settings you set your camera to right before you shut it off for the night. My settings are: Aperture F/4, Shutter Speed 1/25 second, ISO 400, and White Balance is Luminescence. I chose these settings, because I can quickly grab my camera and capture one of my four legged kids doing something adorable without spending too much time making adjustments (while they walk out of the room).



Think about what you want to capture. My boyfriend repeated this all day long. Think about what you want to capture, compose your shots, adjust your settings, and then take the shot. Working with digital cameras means that we can find out if a shot works immediately. So take your time and have fun.


I was shooting solely in manual in less than 2 months and I haven’t looked back.


Check out Kimberly Gauthier's beautiful photography and advice at Through the Lens of Kimberly Gauthier - Thanks, Kimberly!

6 comments:

kim said...

I love her work!

Sharon said...

I have been scared to do manual. I guess it wont hurt to try!

Tabitha said...

Would love a course on this. :)

MG said...

It's nice to hear that others feel the same way - scared to try manual!
This helps bring it to the point where I feel I could give it a try. Thanks so much for putting it so simply. Love your photos!

Kimberly Gauthier said...

Thank you so much!
I'm going to start offering workshops, but I'm not ready yet. If you can wait, please shoot me an email and I'll be sure to send you a small workbook by the end of April!

kimberly AT kimberlygauthier DOT com

Kristi Hines said...

The closest I get to manual is when I want to do a bulb shot for light trails. Most of the time I stick to aperture priority because I'm afraid of missing a good shot, like my first encounter with a snake in the wild just recently. One wrong setting and there was too much blur for it to be usable. :( I know that if I started to get more comfortable with it though, I'd just be able to switch it to right settings faster.