Cameras today are so smart, why should a photographer need to know how to use a camera in manual mode?

 

Good question, and one with a several part answer.  First, to use technology to its fullest you have to know what is going on behind the scenes. How to adjust your camera manually also gives you much better creative control.  And finally, keeping your mind involved with the creative process actually stimulates your creativity by opening up new ideas and new avenues to explore.

 

Learning to shoot a camera in fully manual mode can certainly be a daunting task for a beginner.  None of us like to fail.  Its far easier to just set the dial on “P” for Program and forget it.  You need to change this type of thinking if you ever hope to become a good photographer.  Learning is all about trying, failing, trying again, failing several time and then eventually assimilating the necessary skills.  One good way of learning tasks such as these are by using a simulator.  Just as the way airline pilots practice tricky complex emergency situations and how best to deal with them, without risking millions of dollars of hardware or endangering themselves and innocent bystanders.

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There is a more than full complement of literature a simple Google search turns up on how camera exposure works.  YouTube has pages of tutorials and example teaching videos.  But sometimes just reading or watching a TV show isn’t enough. An effective way to learn is by example… but in most cases this involves making mistakes. Fear of failing is what keeps us from trying, but this shouldn’t deter you. If you ever wanted to learn how to use a DSLR in manual mode, but never had the time to master the skills, here’s a virtual simulation from Canon Canada that shows how the major settings affect exposure and depth of field.  Give it a try for yourself!

http://www.canonoutsideofauto.ca

 

 Here’s my own first score my first time out.  Shouldn’t be too hard to beat either <Grin>.

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