Tip 1:Setup | Tip 2:Manual Mode | Tip 3:White Balance | Tip 4:Handheld Shutter

Tip 2. Use Manual Mode
On the advice of a friend and great photographer (www.ishootshows.com) I switched to manual mode and I've never looked back. The first time I used manual mode I was shooting a room in a quaint hotel in Ashville, NC. I set the camera up and took some shots around the room. One of the shots included a window and it was sunny and bright outside. Normally the camera would have adjusted for this and the room would have been dark and gloomy. Instead the room remained consistently exposed and the window blew out (which was fine as I was interested in the room). Bright lights, sun through the window, dark shadows... all of these can confuse your camera's metering. Here's how I do it :-

  • Decide on the priority of Aperture vs Shutter vs ISO (the two options I allow are A->S->ISO or S->A->ISO).

  • Set the ISO to the best value possible for the camera (usually ISO 100 or 200 depending on camera model).

  • Then set the highest priority variable (lets say Aperture) to the approximate value you would like (say its a portrait and I want a shallow depth of field, so f3.2).

  • Then set the 2nd variable (Shutter in this example) to balance the exposure meter (lets pretend its quite dark and we need 1/10 second).

  • Now sanity check the 2nd variable (Shutter) to see if it is an acceptable value (ie, is it too low or too high?). (see the Tip4: Handheld Shutter).

  • Trade the 3rd variable (ISO for us) against the 2nd variable (Shutter) to allow you to bring the 2nd variable (Shutter) to within an accepable range

  • In our example: To make the exposure meter correct the Shutter had to be set to 1/10 second, which is too slow for handheld shooting. So decrease the shutter speed while increasing the ISO until the shutter is a safe value (say 1/60 second, which increases the ISO from 200 to 1250)