Some photographers are scared to put their DSLR into manual mode. They put it in full auto and shoot. If you are going to do that, you might as well buy your self a point and shoot camera. The key to manual mode is experimenting. After All, digital film is free.
First Off, if you haven’t read your manual yet, do it. You need to know what button to push in order to do a certain thing.
When you switch your camera into manual mode, you control mostly everything. You can control your shutter speed, f-stop, ISO, metering, and white balance to name a few. This is only Part 1; Part 2 will cover more in-depth controls. This is getting you comfortable with manual mode.
Your exposure compensation meter will quickly become your friend. This little meter tells you if your photo is going to be underexposed, overexposed, or just right. Just remember, the camera isn’t always right, adjust your settings to fit your specific needs. Use the exposure compensation meter as a guide.
Changing Your Shutter Speed
Changing your shutter speed changes how long your shutter is open. The longer your shutter is open, the more light will come in. If you are looking at your LCD or Viewfinder, and the number reads “100”, that means your shutter is going to be open for 1/100th of a second and so forth.
Changing your f-stop
You can also change your f-stop or aperture. This changes how much light your lens is letting in. The lower the number, the more open your lens is, letting more light. Going to your lowest f-stop in low light conditions can help dramatically speed up shutter speeds.
Changing your White Balance
Changing your white balance will change how things appear white in your photos due to different color casts from different sources. Leaving your white balance on Auto usually works most of the time outdoors, but not indoors.
Changing your ISO
Changing your ISO changes how sensitive your camera sensor is to light. The higher the number the more sensitive it is, raising your shutter speed. Also, the higher the number, the more noise you are going to get in your photos. Noise is tiny red, green, and blue dots, you want the lowest possible noise in your photos. Keep your ISO as low as possible and only adjust it when nothing else will work.
Make sure to catch Part 2 for more manual mode controls and tips!