GO BACK
        TO MENU


        Shooting in manual mode on your DSLR is the best way to take control of the images you want to capture. The name of the game is exposure. Exposure is manipulating light in different ways to get your desired effect! We’ll go over the three main tools (shutter speed, F-STOP, ISO) in this blog post. We’ll have you properly exposing in no time (pun intended)! 😉


        It may sound a lot easier to have your camera set on automatic mode. By doing so, you are losing so much control over the image you could be taking, the image you could be imagining. There are so many intricacies that can be manipulated and played with in manual mode. And not to mention, SO MUCH FUN that can be had with shooting in manual mode! You can get insanely creative and get those cool shots you’ve always wanted. Okay, let’s teach you how to shoot in manual mode on your DSLR!


        Bride and groom Bridals, image by Fatima Elreda Photo


        image on the left: 1/640SEC, f/5.6, ISO 100

        Note: 1/200 = faster than 1/30

        The faster it closes, the less light it will allow in, so it’ll create a darker image, AND the more in-focus the image will be (free hand).

        If you slow it down, more light has potential to flood the sensor, AND the blurrier the image will be (free hand). A slower shutter is how you get that smooth water effect in landscape images, or the streak of light on the freeway (with a tripod). It’s also how I get my artistic blurry images (free hand).

        Cheat Sheet:

        On a very bright day, raise the shutter (make it fast), to reduce the amount of light

        At night or in lower light-situations, lower it (slow it down) to increase the amount of light into the sensor

        How to shoot in Manual Mode


        Note: it is the number used to adjust the aperture size, because it’s a fraction; f/1 is larger than f/4

        Like your pupil, the larger the aperture gets, the more light floods in = brighter image

        The smaller it is, the less light in = darker

        At the same time; the larger the F-Stop (f/1), the subject of the image will be in focus and the background super blurry like the cute bokeh everyone but me loves; the smaller it is, more closed it is (f/4), more of the image will be in focus (subject & background)

        Cheat Sheet:

        – on a very bright day, lower the f/stop

        – to get a whole group shot in focus, lower it

        – to get the bokeh effect, raise it

        – in a low-light situation, raise it

        How to Shoot in Manual Mode, image by Fatima Elreda Photo


        image on the right: 1/125SEC, f/2.5, ISO 320

        Note: a higher ISO will add grain to your image

        On a bright day, lower it all the way to 100 to avoid over exposure. In low-light situations (dark room, shadows, after sunset), raise it upp. The higher the ISO goes, the more grain the image will naturally have. It’s just the way it is, dark situations are harder for a camera to capture.

        Cheat Sheet:

        – on a very bright day in the sun, lower it to 100

        – if using a flash, lower it ‘cause flash will replicate a bright day

        – in low light situations, raise it uppp (there will be grain if you go real high)


        I’ve created a Youtube video of me explaining this topic in further detail, if you’d like to watch that, click here!!

        To download a PDF version of this blog post, with a tad bit more info and imagery, press the download button!



        Thank you for going through this,  I hope this was helpful for you!! Did you learn how to shoot in manual mode on your DSLR with this blog post? If you did, I’d love to hear your feedback, leave a comment in the section down below!! It would be so helpful for me to know what it is you liked, if you would have preferred something else, what you might want more of in future posts, etc!! Thank you!


        San Diego Wedding Photographer Fatima Elreda Photo, Self Portrait

        Thank You for Stopping By!

        I am a professional wedding photographer based in Southern California. And I’ll go everywhere your love story takes you, whether your wedding is in Scotland, your backyard, or a venue down the street, it’s all worthwhile to me.

        Connection is Important

        Knowing who you are, and truly whole-heartedly liking YOU is so important to me! I love all my couples and can’t imagine approaching photography in any other way. This tremendously helps me photograph your love and personality more honestly.

        I Am Your Storyteller

        I will provide you with an unforgettable experience and top notch quality images that will last a life time, long after every moment has passed. My intention is to take you back to the feelings in your images even years after you’ve forgotten the details. Trust me to photograph the moments you’re going to tell for generations to come.


        Leave a Comment

        Your email address will not be published. Required fields marked *