How To Get Off Auto Mode || Manual For Beginners

Hi everyone!
 I just want to say I am so blessed to be blogging right now; I came down with the flu on Saturday night and literally slept my way to Wednesday morning. I can't even believe today's already Friday! Ah, I guess I should be happy! Fridays are the days I go to rehearsals for the play I'm putting on (link here) and so I am always waiting anxiously for Friday afternoons full of dancing and exhaustion! 😅

So. Getting off auto. It might sound really scary to you, but if you have a (rather expensive) DSLR, you need to know how to use it. And using auto is great for a while, but not really ideal to get those perfect images. Today we'll go over the three easy steps of Manual mode.

*Make sure you switch to the M mode on your DSLR or camera before viewing these steps. All of these steps are on your screen of M mode- just like the screen of Auto or A mode.

1: Shutter Speed

What is shutter speed? Well, it's that number on your screen that will say something like 1/1000 or 1/200. Depending on how you change it. (Most cameras have a dial to change this, it depends on your DSLR- look in your manual if you're not sure) 
This is how fast the opening on your camera is going to open and close. 1/1000 means 1/1000 of a second. Faster shutter speeds means it's faster and it will not let in as much light. On bright sunny days, this is ideal so that you don't over-brighten your photo. Lower shutter speed numbers, 1/200 for example, will make it slower and let in more light. This is ideal for lower-lit areas, (to make your photograph brighter) or if you're capturing fast movement. Too slow, your picture will be blurry. You can also tell that your shutter speed is faster or slower just by listening to it. Slower means it will be louder.

2: F-stop number

What is a f-stop number? That's the number that will look something like 2.4 or 1.8 on your Manual-mode screen. F-stop is the number that goes along with your shutter speed. This is the opening of your camera that's letting in light, but also capturing the focal point you want. Sound confusing? I'll put it this way:

Lower f-stop number means a larger opening, but a small range of focus. The picture above was just around 1.8, a very low number that lets in light but also captures a very small focus on my subject- the red ivy leaf. Lower f-stops don't have the sharpness like a 5.3 would or something like it, but the 1.8 is ideal for macros and detailed pictures.

Higher f-stop number (9.5 for example) will not let in as much light, will not give you a LOT of small focal point, but will be sharper. This is ideal for capturing a larger object, and not a macro, detailed picture like the one above. If you're capturing a large family photo, you'll want to go with 14.5 or something like it. (Every camera is different with its f-stop numbers)

3: ISO

What is ISO? That's the number that will look like 200 or 400. Most DSLRs can go all the way up to 1600 even, or higher. This is the number that is going to brighten your image, or make it darker. If you go all the way up to 1600, your image will also be grainier. 
ISO will make the picture more grainy going up the scale. 200 leaves no grain and is what I like to leave my ISO at all the time. For really dark rooms, you might just have to go up on the ISO- but remember, high number, more grain in your picture! Even in Manual, you can leave the ISO on auto mode- sometimes I do and just let my camera decide for me!

 You're ready to begin!

Yay! You're ready to begin shooting in manual! Still not sure? Let's give you some examples below: 

This photo was shot: ISO: 100 (rather bright out) F-stop: F/ 2.8. Shutter speed: 1/60. (Canon Rebel T2i, 50mm lens)
This photo was shot: ISO: 2500 (low light) F-stop: F/2. Shutter speed: 1/60 (same camera/lens)

This photo was shot: ISO: 250 (window light) F-stop: F/2 Shutter Speed: 1/60 (same camera, same lens)

Remember, I started out in auto too, and didn't get to manual for FIVE months! But now look where I am! A photographer with a heart for manual mode- because you can do so much MORE than auto! Remember, practice makes perfect, and you won't get the tricks of Manual until you're really ready!

Did these steps help?

Hadassah <3


  1. Great job, Hadassah! I think you explained it really well-- and your images were beautiful! <3

  2. Aww this was such a great post- I thoroughly enjoyed reading it!! <3

    I love using manual focus now, but it is SO HARD bc my little siblings won't stay still, and I really enjoy photographing them. It's really great for object photography, to me. I would use auto for portraits, but my littlest sibling broke the lens, so only manual works. :| Anyhow, I still love using it.
    Thanks for this post girly, you seem like such an're gonna do some great things through your photography!! <33

  3. This post was AWESOME! So helpful for me, I tend to stay on program a lot, but I can see how much my photos improve when I use manual!
    And your photos are GORGEOUS!

    1. *blushes* Thanks Lydia! I really appreciate it! :D

      <3 <3 <3


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