This essay is for amateurs who have been shooting a while and feel the desire to push the envelope by going to manual mode. For those who are dedicated auto shooters and never want to change, I respect and endorse your choice, and wish you all the good shooting in the world. But this essay is not for you, so you need not read any further. Why go manual mode? Well, there are some very good reasons to do so. I believe that all the fun is in manual shooting, and I also believe that you can unleash your creativity by shooting manual.
Many beginner photographers often wonder what camera settings they should use to get the best possible results with their current camera gear. While there is no set rule for camera settings that work well in every shooting environment, I noticed that there are some settings that I personally set on every camera I use, which are universal across all brands of cameras on the market. These are the “base” settings I set initially – once they are done, I rarely ever revisit them. In addition, there are particular camera modes that make the process of capturing images easier or quicker, especially for someone who is just starting out. Let’s go through these common camera settings in more detail!
It’s common to think that most professional photographers, or all professional photographers, shoot in manual mode, for the simple reason that it offers the greatest possible control over a photo. Why would you leave your camera to make important decisions without your input? However, as valuable as manual mode is, you may not need to use it 100% of the time — even as an advanced photographer. In this article, I’ll explain semi-automatic modes and cover some cases where they can be the quickest option available, without sacrificing any control over your settings.
When taking pictures, one of the biggest frustrations one can experience is camera shake, which often happens as a result of the way the camera is held at lower shutter speeds. Properly hand-holding a camera can drastically reduce human-induced camera shake and result in many more sharp images and keepers. In this article, we will discuss a few different ways to hold a camera, which will hopefully reduce and potentially even eliminate unwanted blurry images when you are shooting in the field.
For landscape photography, most of the time, you’ll end up using your camera’s base ISO. That’s the power of a tripod; it lets you set long enough shutter speeds to capture a bright photo, even in dark environments at low ISO values. However, settings like this do not work for all images. Sometimes, depending upon the landscape, you’ll need to raise your ISO in order to capture a successful photograph. This article dives into the most common of those situations.
Shutter speed is one of the most important settings to know as a photographer. It doesn’t get any more fundamental than this. To be specific, shutter speed is the length of time your camera sensor (or film) is exposed to light — essentially, how long your camera spends taking a photo. As simple as this sounds, though, shutter speed has an enormous influence on how your images appear. The two biggest effects are exposure and motion blur. I’ll cover them here.
Exposure isn’t an easy part of photography, especially if you’re just starting to learn about it. Your camera has dozens of buttons and hundreds of menu options — how do you even begin to set everything correctly? But it’s not as bad as you might think. There are only two camera settings that affect exposure: shutter speed and aperture. These are also the two most important settings in all of photography. In this article, I’ll introduce shutter speed and aperture (as well as a third variable, ISO) and explain in depth how to use them properly. Once you master exposure, your photos will skyrocket in quality.
There are many combinations of aperture, shutter speed, and ISO that will correctly expose an image. With all those combinations, which one is the right one? If you leave your camera in full program mode, your camera will pick a combination for you. However, letting your camera have complete control is not why you bought an expensive DSLR or mirrorless camera! Learning how to adjust the settings and modes on your camera before you click the shutter will give you the upper hand. You will end up capturing images creatively, rather than by chance. Read on to find out how aperture, shutter speed, and ISO affect the look and feel of a photograph and how to choose the best camera settings to take creative control of your images.
There is so much duality in photography. On one hand, it’s the light and the subject, it’s the story we tell and the story the viewer sees, it’s a feeling, an emotion, a state, a symbol, a metaphor. Sounds poetic, doesn’t it? On the other hand, it’s pure science, every single bit of it – from the said light traveling through a complex lens design, all the way to the scene being imprinted whether on a piece of light-sensitive film or, temporarily, on a digital sensor. And that scientific part of photography brings all sorts of terms with it, terms that may not be necessary for the creative process, but as far as skillful execution goes, you can’t do without understanding them for very long. A painter needs to know his brushes at some point, right?
And so we are back to covering basics, something you surely must have noticed. In this article, I will talk about yet another, confusing-at-first-encounter term used in photography, more specifically – exposure stops. I will try to explain what they are and how stops of different exposure triangle parameters – shutter speed, aperture and ISO sensitivity – correlate, as well as give you examples of what are considered to be regular stop values of each parameter, and what are full, half and third-stops.
The subject of sensor crop factors and equivalence has become rather controversial between photographers, sparking heated debates on photography sites and forums. So much has been posted on this topic, that it almost feels redundant to write about it again. Sadly, with all the great and not-so-great information out there on equivalence, many photographers are only left more puzzled and confused. Thanks to so many different formats available today, including 1″/CX, Micro Four Thirds, APS-C, 35mm/Full Frame, Medium Format (in different sizes), photographers are comparing these systems by calculating their equivalent focal lengths, apertures, depth of field, camera to subject distances, hyperfocal distances and other technical jargon, to prove the inferiority or the superiority of one system over another. In this article, I want to bring up some of these points and express my subjective opinion on the matter. Recognizing that this topic is one of the never-ending debates with strong arguments from all sides, I do realize that some of our readers may disagree with my statements and arguments. So if you do disagree with what I say, please provide your opinion in a civilized manner in the comments section below.