Top 5 Reasons You NEED to be shooting in Manual Mode

Who’s the Boss? (cue Tony Danza…)

If you don’t know who Tony Danza is, we were born a decade apart, and that’s okay.

So you got a fancy camera. That’s so exciting! Seriously, nothing geeks me out more than sharing the excitement of a new camera. Even if you’ve had it for months and you use it in full Auto mode, you can regain that newlywed excitement by switching that baby off “A” and putting it purposefully on “M”. I promise, it will change your life.

True confession. I used Aperture priority mode for a looooooong time and resisted that M with all the fortitude of a toddler resisting nap time. I didn’t think I needed it. But, hey, why is this image so out of focus? Why is this image so dark? Why is that sky completely blown out? This, my friends, is why YOU need to be the boss of your camera instead of letting your camera be the boss of you.  YOU need to be able to answer those WHY’s.

Top 5 reasons why learning Manual Mode will rock your socks off.
5 reasons to shoot in manual mode by the photographers element
The 3 B’s: Beautiful blurry backgrounds, otherwise known as bokeh. This shallow depth of field is controlled by your aperture (or f-stop) setting. We most often think of aperture for shallow or low depth of field, when a very small area of the frame is in focus. Shallow depth gives us that gorgeous, creamy background blur called bokeh. But did you know that aperture can also be used to capture crisp hi-depth landscapes or turn a bright blob of sun into a sparkly starburst? It can. And it’s not hard. Promise.

5 reasons to shoot in manual mode by the photographers element

Motion – 2 ways: Motion is controlled by our shutter speed. How fast or slow that shutter snaps will determine how motion is translated into a photo. If we lock our camera into Aperture priority (ahem, not that I would know anything about that, thankyouverymuch…) then we are letting our camera decide how fast or slow that shutter responds. Have a fast moving toddler with not a lot of available light? In aperture priority mode, your camera will respond by SLOWING down your shutter which will result in a blurry mess of flailing arms. Been there? I thought so. Me too. BUT, learning to control your shutter speed, puts YOU in charge. You will understand how to FREEZE MOTION, how to IMPLY MOTION, and how to capture cool effects like dreamy waterfalls, a setting sun, or your child riding his bike for the first time!

 5 reasons to shoot in manual mode by the photographers element5 reasons to shoot in manual mode by the photographers element

Tack sharp focus. This is the bane of every photographer’s existence. Amiright? Again, it’s all about “Who’s the Boss”? When we let the camera choose where to focus, we often end up with an ear that’s beautifully in focus, while the eyes and face? Not so much. And it’s so frustrating! Learning manual mode will take the out the guess work and put you in charge. No more leaving it to chance. Taking charge means you get to pick the exact focus point and tell you camera precisely where to focus. The results? Tack sharp images. Every time. BAM.

5 reasons to shoot in manual mode by the photographers element

Consistency. Taking your camera off Auto, off aperture priority, or off shutter priority will increase your consistency exponentially. You’ll learn how to get a perfect exposure every time and not only will this make your SOOC (straight out of the camera) images more consistent, but it will cut down your editing time significantly. You’ll learn how to handle tricky lighting situations, such as low light, bright light and back light. And you’ll know exactly what to do no matter what the lighting is. And a bonus? Turn off that pesky pop up flash on your camera. Your camera doesn’t need it, and neither do you.

5 reasons to shoot in manual mode by the photographers elementWho’s the boss? YOU ARE.  It’s amazing that I resisted manual mode for so long considering that I’m a bit of a control freak. The best thing about shooting in manual mode is that YOU get to be in charge. Creamy bokeh? check. Dreamy waterfall? check. Tack sharp focus? check. Perfect exposure? check. Tricky lighting? nailed it. The possibilities are endless and the capabilities are in YOUR hands.

Enjoy this Free video (5 min.) about the NEAR vs FAR principle in photography.  This video is part of our Week 1 curriculum in our Mastering Manual course. 

We all need a lightbulb moment. That thing that makes us scream “A-HA!” and jump for joy. The Photographer’s Element is geeked out with giddy excitement that we get to give these moments to new photographers. Ready to dive and become the boss of your camera? We can’t wait to work with you.

Cheering you on!

Sarah & Michaela
TPE’s Mastering Manual Team

P.S.  Do you know the #1 reason students take Mastering Manual?  They are bummed out that their $$$ camera still takes blurry shots when their kids are running around.  Happening to you?  Well…that’s Reason #6 why manual is FOR YOU!

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Michaela Ristaino

Michaela Ristaino

Michaela has a deep passion for all things creative. With a background in professional music and theatre, it came as no surprise when one day she picked up a camera and fell in love. As a child she was obsessed with the boxes of old photo albums and slides in her parent’s basement. Seeing this other world amazed her. Black and white images printed on linen that had been painstakingly “colored” by hand with soft watercolor beauty. Pictures of her grandparents as teenagers…and her great grandparents on their farm in rural Wisconsin looking just like “American Gothic.” Somehow, even then, she knew that photographs had the power to change people.

Ristaino Photography was born in 2014, and Michaela is in her happiest place when working one on one with a client to create images that sing with their truest inner beauty. She was thrilled when one of her images was featured on the cover of the Beauty Revived 50 Most Beautiful Children magazine. Her heart is still overflowing.

Michaela is the heart and soul of The Photographer’s Element Student Lounge. Having the ability to create a safe and nourishing place for the TPE community to continue to grow and collaborate (even after your course is over!) fills her heart with joy. She truly believes that the nurturing environment at TPE is what sets it apart from other photography schools.

When she’s not traveling, you can find Michaela in sunny Florida, where she lives with her amazing husband and best friend Cap’n Tony. With way too many unfinished latch-hook rug kits in her childhood closet, she is a tiny bit amazed with herself for being super close to finishing her first Project 365.
Michaela Ristaino

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