Shooting in Manual Part One | Exposure

photography exposure

I am so excited to get started with part one of a 5 part series on how to shoot in manual! During our workshops, I explain these concepts at length and nothing is better than hands on learning we utilize during the day. For those of you who haven't yet made it to one of our events, I am sharing here just some of the concepts I teach so you can start to unravel the "mystery" of your DSLR. Photography is something I believe anyone with a creative eye and desire to work hard can learn. Just like learning any new concept, tying all the pieces together to fully shoot in manual is something that requires practice and loads of patience, but something I can promise will come together if you put in the time! So, let's get started...


Every single setting in your camera is there to allow you to do one thing: create the perfect exposure. Photography is all about light; how you perceive it, harness it, capture and manipulate it. We use light in different ways to convey mood, emotion and tell stories with our photos. While cameras today have amazing capabilities and do remarkably well on "auto", simply relying on your camera to make decisions for you limits the types of images you can capture and create. In order to take complete creative control, it is paramount that you decide how your camera interprets the scene you are photographing. When you start to shoot in manual you open up the ability to shoot any scene or situation: from live action shots and moving water, to a bride on her wedding day, or a night time cityscape. 

The Exposure Triangle

The three main components to shooting manually are shutter speed, ISO and aperture. I am sure these are terms you have heard of before. A quick Google search will yield hundreds of articles on any of these subjects but can be overwhelming and tricky to decipher.  Before we dive into each of these concepts individually I want you to see the bigger picture in how these three interact in the exposure triangle.

The exposure triangle shows how aperture, ISO and shutter speed all work in tandem to create the ideal exposure. When one of these three is changed, the other two must also be changed to continue to produce the correct exposure. Shutter speed refers to how long you let the light enter your camera, aperture refers to how large an opening you let the light in at and ISO refers to the camera's sensitivity to light in the atmosphere.  

If you are a budding photographer, business owner or blogger, it is essential to learn how to use your camera gear to create the best possible images for your business or brand. I hope you join along in this series as we dive into shutter speed two weeks from now. Each concept will include at-home assignments, detailed descriptions and as always, you can leave comments and Ashley will be sure to respond and answer all of your questions.

Cheers to learning to shoot in manual! Comment below with any initial questions you want to see covered in the series!