Q: Where do I start? A: Somewhere!

I received a great question via email, that I wanted to share here, because I am sure someone else may be wondering. The question was along the lines of:

I just want to get better at using my camera in manual mode. When I walk up to a scene, I just want to know what ISO, Aperture and Shutter Speed to use. Do you have any tips?

Here is my initial response:

1. Pick an ISO. Start at 400 for simplicity. Set it and forget it.
2. Pick an aperture. Say 3.5. Set it and forget it.
3. Now it is all about shutter speed. Only adjust your shutter speed at this point to get a proper exposure. This will keep you thinking about shutter speed only.

(Leave your White Balance on Auto for the time being.)

Don’t try and change too many things at once, or you will get confused.

The way I shoot is to:
1. Assess the situation and set my ISO to the Lowest value I can get away with.
2. I typically shoot at 1.8-2.8 Aperture, so I set it and forget it.
3. Set my White Balance
4. Tweak my shutter speed as I work.

That’s it!

PS – Remember that your meter interprets everything as medium gray, so you have to know when to over (slower shutter speed) and underexpose (faster shutter speed) at times.

The moral of this story is to START somewhere. In this case, I am recommending shutter speed. Set the other variables, master the shutter speed and roll with it. Practice, Practice and Practice.


And because I don’t like to post without a picture, here is a recent favorite:

Just what I love…. A moment.

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