**If you are ready to learn how to shoot in manual mode check out How to Shoot in Manual Mode – The Basics for some photography tips**
Just a little over a year ago, I had no idea what it meant to “shoot in manual mode.” After seeing several pictures taken by one of my friends, I begged her to teach me some photography tips on how to achieve the same look. This is when my journey of shooting in manual mode began. I haven’t looked back since!
1. No Harsh flash.
When you shoot in “auto” your camera chooses all your settings for you. If there is low lighting the camera decides to pop up the flash and add more lighting. Unfortunately, this lighting is often extremely unflattering to your subjects and leaves you with a picture of washed out skin, closed eyes, or red eyes.
Auto Mode with flash
When shooting in manual you have control over everything. Since I am a control freak, this is a wonderful thing :O) I get to choose my shutter speed, aperture, and ISO (I promise I will explain these later) which affects how much light comes in. This allows me to get natural skin tones and expressions without that horrible flash. What is funny, is when I was taking these photos to show you as an example, Emma made the strangest face when the flash went off. It hit me, she hasn’t seen a flash since she was 5 months old.
Read more: Complete Guide to Understanding the Exposure Triangle
Read more: Basic Photography Tips
2. You choose your focal point.
I think this is one of my favorite features! When Kate was 5 months old, my mom gave me a book called Baby Photography Now! by David Nightingale. I loved this book! All the pictures were exactly what I wanted my pictures to be. Unfortunately, it was like reading a foreign language because I didn’t understand anything about photography. I held onto that book in hopes that maybe I could figure it out.
One of my favorite pictures was a baby playing with a toy but the focus was on the toy not the baby. I loved it! Now, I realize that all you have to do is choose your focal point and have a low aperture and I, too, could achieve those photos!
Read more: Changing Your Focal Point
Read more: 5 Ways to Create Catchlights
3. Get wonderful bokeh and blurry backgrounds.
Bokeh? What’s that? A quick explanation would be the little circles of light in the blurry background of pictures. Photographers LOVE bokeh (pronounced bo-kuh – like mocha…at least that is how I say it :O) Besides bokeh, you can also get those professional looking blurry backgrounds. The amount of blurry background you get depends on your aperture. I love a photo that captures the child and everything in the background is blurred out, all your focus is on that adorable face :O)
Read more: 7 Tips to Take a Sharp Photo
Read more: 6 Reasons Why You Have Blurry Photos
4. Control over the amount of light in your picture.
This is such a fun thing about manual. I just finished a workshop that taught me all about silhouettes and backlighting. Both of these seemed like the biggest challenges until I learned it was just a matter of getting your settings right and controlling the amount of light in your photo. If you want a photo with pretty backlighting you let in a lot more light. However, if you want dark silhouettes that pop against your backgrounds you are going to change your settings for your subjects to be underexposed.
I hope you come along for this journey in photography! I am constantly learning new things each day and I hope you will too!!