Hey there, its Laura here with another photo tip for you today! I posted this a year ago on my own blog and got a huge response so I thought I would share with you also. Last year at this time I was taking my first photography course and learned how to shoot in manual.
To start off, I will tell you that I shoot Canon and more specifically, a rebel xti. If you have a Nikon or a different version of a Canon, some of these directions will need to be modified, but the basics are the same you will just have to locate the options on your own camera.
The first step to shooting in manual is to find the dial on your camera where you change what mode you are on. For Canon shooters, Manual is represented by a capital M. So first step, change that dial to M.
Step 2. Adjusting the shutter speed.
The next step involves adjusting the shutter speed. The shutter speed is how fast your camera captures the action. Your rule of thumb is to NEVER go slower than 1/125 unless you are using a tripod. Less then that, you will get camera shake just from the natural motion your arm makes as you press the button to shoot.
For my specific camera, there is a little dial that rotates right in front of the button you press to take the picture. Rotate it until your camera is set at a 1/125 shutter speed.
Step 3. Adjusting your aperture (also known as your F stop.)
Your aperture involves how much of your frame is in focus. Classic portraits with the blurred background will have a larger aperture. The smaller the number, the small the focus area. This means the smaller your number, the more of your background will be blurred. Regardless, for now we are just going to adjust this to make the camera happy.
Ok at this point, your camera is set to M, your shutter speed is set to 1/125. Now within your camera screen you will see a little number line with 0 in the middle, it goes up to +2 and then down to -2. This is metering. Metering has to do with how light or dark your photos show up. For now we want to 'Meter in the Middle' so that the little black box that shows you where on the number line you are, is on 0.
So now you are going to adjust your aperture until you are metered in the middle. For my camera, I press the button right by the view finder that is labeled AV +/- and use the same dial that I used to adjust the shutter speed.
And now you are ready to shoot! You will notice that as you move your camera around, you will lose your meter in the middle. You will ONLY adjust your aperture to regain the meter in the middle.
What to do if your photos are too dark or light- make sure you are metered in the middle! Your metering will determine how dark or light your photo is. If you are metered in the middle but still do not like the outcome, meter one stop (or to the +1) for a lighter photo, down a stop (to the -1) for a darker one.
For those of you who are scared to go to manual, it really isn't all that scary once you know how to set yourself up for it!
Come back next week for a more in depth look at shutter speed and aperture!