5 Reasons To Move Beyond Manual Mode

May 30, 2018

So you’re finally comfortable with shooting in Manual mode. Maybe you took Part 1 of my Making Awesome Pictures course (Hi!!), maybe you took a different class or maybe you trudged your way through Google. You know how to move your settings this way and that way in order to properly expose your images and you are a master at troubleshooting your settings if something isn’t quite how you like it. Maybe you even know some basic rules of good composition. What else is there to know about photography? Why should you keep learning after you know your camera inside and out?

1) Your images still aren’t coming out how you’d like.

Your camera makes sense. Manual mode makes sense. You understand it all… on paper. When it comes to putting your knowledge into practice maybe you still feel a bit shaky. The solution? Practice and feedback. Practice and feedback. Picking your camera up as often as you can, and then having someone nearby who you can turn to for answers and guidance will turn your basic knowledge of photography into better photos. There are countless unique issues that will arise as you shoot and simply knowing how to shoot in manual mode might not be enough to ensure that you’re producing the types of pictures that you want.

2) What about composition?

By this point you probably have at least heard of the Rule of Thirds. In your high school art class you might have learned about leading lines. Maybe you even know about things like chopping limbs and keeping your horizons straight. You guys, there is so. much. more. Heck, I’m still learning and experimenting with different compositions. Manual mode will give you control over the exposure of your pictures, but diving into composition will give you so much more control over how you capture a scene and how others experience it through your photos. Highlight this element over here, minimize that distraction over there, play with this perspective or that one. With composition, you have power to guide your viewers’ eyes through your images exactly how you want.

3) Tricky light still trips you up.

If there’s one aspect of photography that can make or break a photo, it’s light. Not enough of it, too much of it, different types mixed together. It can be such a headache! Learning how to see the light, change what might be giving you problems, and position yourself and your subject for the best results can completely change your photos. Don’t think you need to learn about light as it pertains to photography? You might be surprised to see just how big of an impact light and using the light effectively can have on pictures.

4) You feel uninspired when you pick up your camera.

If you’re feeling even a little bit frustrated with how your pictures are turning out, you probably aren’t as excited about picking up your camera as you want to be. You put so much effort into learning how to use your camera, you should enjoy your new hobby. You should want to take pictures and try to improve. Feeling like you’re not getting any better, no matter how much you practice can suck all the fun out of it. Not knowing what you should be doing differently to get the results you want is enough to make anyone want to quit.

5) Uh… editing. You haven’t even considered the potential impact editing can have on your images.

If the extent of your editing is applying an Instagram or Snapchat filter, you are missing out. Even just simple adjustments like fixing the white balance, exposure and adding contrast can make your pictures look so much more polished. Learn how to make the most out of whichever editing program you use to create clean, timeless images.

If you already have a strong grasp on shooing in Manual mode, come join me for Part 2 of Making Awesome Pictures. Guess what we cover. That’s right, Advanced Composition, Light and Editing! Along with detailed PDFs to go with each topic, you’ll have me at your beck and call for three weeks. Have a question? Ask away. Not sure if your pictures are as strong as they could be? Get some honest feedback and actionable tips to improve. Sign up now! Part 2 starts June 6.