Three Things to Know About Taking Pictures in Manual Mode

What are the Different Kinds of Cameras?

The most common camera people might know for manual mode is DSLR. DSLR stands for Digital Single Lens Reflex Camera. DSLR's are different from point and shoot cameras as well as mirrorless cameras. Point and shoot cameras are easier to use and cheaper and are best to use on automatic stettings. They can be customized by different modes such as nighttime, portrait, and sunset. These are good for casual photograpahers or tourists. Mirrorless Cameras tend to be more light-weight, compact, and better for video. Instead of using a mirroring system like a DSLR, light will pass through the lens and straight to a digital sensor. Although they don't have as many lenses and accessory options if you want to became more specalized or generalized in photography. Although it does look like mirrorless does have a promising future to fix the poor lens selection. DSLR's tend to be more expensive upfront but less expensive when building your selection later. They allow you to play with photo settings as well as change to different lens to get better shots. While bulkier and their focusing speed is slower, they currently are best supported in the business. They also on average have a longer battery life and a better viewfinder. On top of Mirrorless and DSLR Cameras, you want to make sure that the dial is set on M for Manual.

The Three Things: ISO, Aperture, and Shutter Speed

The use of ISO, Aperture, and Shutter Speed all help control the exposure (or how bright or dark the image is). The easiest way to understand is to know what each one does. ISO controls the sensitvity of your camera's sensor. Aperture controls the area which light can enter your camera. Which is also the depth of field. Shutter Speed controls how long the shutter is open to gather light. Which is also how blurred movement is.

If you need more help understanding!


ISO controls the sensitivity of the camera's senor. While aperture and shutter speed also effect light, ISO is most considered to effect image noise

Less Noise More Noise
100 200 400 800 1600 3200 6400
Full Sun, Bright outdoor Clear Skies, Bright outdoor Cloudy Skies, Bright Indoor Early evening, dim scenes Dark indoor, night Dark Scenes to keep stable Dark Scenes to keep stable
ISO:100 Shutter Speed:1/2000 Aperture:6.3
ISO:800 Shutter Speed:1/2000 Aperture:6.3
ISO:3200 Shutter Speed:1/2000 Aperture:6.3


Aperature controls the area which light can enter your camera. Which is also the depth of field. Where the camera focus is where the most light is let in. So when we see a photo that has a strong clear subject and a very blurred background, the aperture ,or f-stop, is small and light is mostly focused on the subject.

f/1.4 f/2.8 f/5.6 f/11 f/22
Very Large Aperture Large Aperture Medium Aperture Small Aperture Very Small Aperture
Very Large Depth of Field Large Depth of Field Medium Depth of Field Small Depth of Field Very Small Depth of Field
Almost Nothing in Focus Little in Focus Some in Focus Much in Focus Almost All in Focus
Brightest Bright Medium Dark Darkest
ISO:800 Shutter Speed:1/1000 Aperture:5
ISO:800 Shutter Speed:1/1000 Aperture:11
ISO:800 Shutter Speed:1/1000 Aperture:20

We can see how changing the aperture effects the light and depth of field in an image.

Shutter Speed

Shutter Speed is how long the shutter is open to gather light. The lower the shutter speed the more light is in the photo. Likewise, the higher the shutter speed the less light is in the photo. Shutter speed can also effect the clarity of the subject. For example with a non-moving subject (especially with a tripod) you can get lots of light. The lower the shutter speed and with a moving subject you will get a more wispy or blurry photo.

ISO:1600 Shutter Speed:1/250 Aperture:6.3
ISO:1600 Shutter Speed:1/800 Aperture:6.3
ISO:1600 Shutter Speed:1/2000 Aperture:6.3