If you ask me, the biggest attraction of an SLR camera compared to other types of (compact) cameras is that SLRs allow you to achieve authentic photographic wonders, thanks to the absolute freedom they offer when configuring the settings . The photograph you get will be different depending on the settings you put. This is called manual mode (with the mega guide at this link you will learn how to use it). That being said, all SLRs come with a built-in "auto" mode, which adjusts the camera's settings for you. His intention, at first, is to hit. My opinion is that automatic mode is something to avoid at all costs.
IF AUTOMATIC MODE IS SO INADVISABLE, WHY DOES IT EXIST?
Even with equal light conditions, same character or landscape, same time of day, colors, composition, same camera and same lens, you and I could get 2 completely different photos using manual mode. On the contrary, shooting in automatic mode is giving the camera the decision about how we want the photograph to be. Most chambers will make similar decisions. People, on the other hand, have different occurrences, decisions and tastes. It is normal for the result to be different and, above all, “personal”, very personal.
DOES THIS MEAN THAT AUTOMATIC MODE IS BAD?
Absolutely. Automatic mode is useful at certain times:
- You witness something that is unlikely to be repeated and you don't have time to mess around with the camera. You need to react quickly if you want to get the photo. Automatic mode, and that's it.
- You are at a party with friends, or a family reunion, and you have been asked to take a photo as a souvenir. People are impatient, you are not going to spend the whole afternoon adjusting the camera, shooting, and adjusting it again until you get that artistic photography that you are looking for. People want a photo to immortalize the moment, period.
They are only two examples but you understand me, the automatic mode has its uses , but they are very specific moments and they are photos that you could perfectly take with any compact camera. If you've shelled out some serious money for an SLR camera ( my favorites here, by the way), you'll want to take advantage of the usability it offers, and that's called "Shooting in Manual Mode . "
What makes it difficult and complex for you to use an SLR in manual mode? that you had already tried it once and it turned out to be a disaster?
In the next few lines I will tell you about some methods that will allow you to learn manual mode in an easy and almost unconscious way. Trust me, shooting in manual mode is extremely easy , anyone with the desire and passion to get good pictures can do it. Everything is based on 2 or 3 very basic elements that have to be adjusted in the camera, with that one already has to start. From there, the photographic possibilities are endless.
Today, with the intention of making it easy for you, I bring you 6 ways in which you can learn to use your SLR camera in manual mode . Listen to me: just one of these 5 methods would be enough, but I recommend consulting and using more than one because that way you "relearn" the method from another point of view and consolidate the theory.
1) READ «YOUR FIRST STEPS IN SLR PHOTOGRAPHY»
One of my main objectives with the Photographer's Blog is to bring photography closer to the amateur photographer on foot. For me, "bringing closer" to something is making it accessible to everyone. In terms of photographic learning, the language used and the complexity of the explanations are usually the main barrier.
«Your First Steps in SLR Photography» is a humble contribution with which I try to demystify photography, remove that apparent complexity (only «apparent», seriously, deep down it is not complex at all) and thus infect many of my readers with the passion of being a photographer.
«Your First Steps in SLR Photography»It is a digital book, in PDF format, that I distribute completely free of charge among the VIP Readers of this blog. Becoming a VIP Reader is free. You can subscribe using your email address below.
(Not sure? Here 's more info.)
2) USING THE CAMERA IN SEMI-MANUAL MODE (APERTURE PRIORITY OR SHOOTING PRIORITY)
In order to master the manual mode and use it completely independently, you can use the trick of observing the behavior of the camera itself in automatic or semi -manual mode .
Put your camera in auto mode, frame and focus on a dimly lit area, watch the aperture and shutter speed settings the camera automatically chooses. He finally shoots.
Repeat the test again, but this time framing a brighter area, and compare the settings that the camera has decided this time with those of the previous time.
The manufacturers of SLR cameras, when setting up the automatic mode, strive to program the automatic mode with the same logic that governs the manual mode. The principle is the same. You, as a student photographer, can use this "programmed" behavior to draw conclusions about the basic rules of how to use manual mode. Obviously, once you learn the basic principle, you can deviate from it and innovate all you want.
3) OBSERVE THE EXIF DATA OF OTHER USERS' PHOTOS
There are two ways of reading a photograph: observing it itself as a photograph; and reading its EXIF data.
Most of the photos incorporate a series of data that tells us the brand and model of the camera with which the photo was taken, the focal length of the lens, the ISO value, the aperture of the diaphragm, shutter speed, among other settings. . In reality, the photo itself is telling you the "exact" manual settings the photographer used to achieve it. In other words, they are the manual adjustments that you would have to apply if you wanted to get a picture exactly the same.
EXIF data from photos can be read in several ways:
- Saving the photo to your computer first, and then right-clicking on it and choosing “Properties” and then “Details”.
- Using some EXIF data reading program. There are programs that do it online, such as exifdataor verexif.
- On pages like Flickr, by adding the word meta to the end of a photo's address. For example, if you want to find out the EXIF data of the photo https://www.flickr.com/photos/aigle_dore/6087918639/,
you should add the word meta at the end of the same address, leaving it like this: https://www.flickr .com/photos/aigle_dore/6087918639/meta
4) USE AN ONLINE SIMULATOR
Can you learn to use manual mode without even owning an SLR?
At least the theoretical part, which usually seems the most complicated, you can master without having to have a reflex camera. CameraSim is a free, online service that allows you to tinker with the same manual settings as SLR cameras, allowing you to control ISO, shutter speed, aperture, among other settings. The curious thing about the invention is that it offers you a moving image, in real time, and it is about getting the best combination of settings that allows you to capture a clear and correct photograph. Here it is.
5) CONSULT THE USER MANUAL OF YOUR CAMERA (AT LEAST OCCASIONALLY)
Okay, I admit it, it's not easy to read a user's manual for a camera. I hate the instruction books that come with cameras. The manufacturers write them in the most unpalatable and bland way possible. It seems they don't want us to read them.
But you also have to be fair: we can't complain about not knowing how to use something while refusing to even open the instruction manual.
That being said, you don't need to read the manual from cover to cover. If it's any consolation, I've never done it (confession). I do recommend, at least, that you have it on hand. If you find it difficult to keep the physical copy on paper, the one that comes included in the box along with the camera, at least get the PDF version ( here you have a good database with user manuals for many cameras ).
The first days of using your camera, try to consult the pages that you see relevant, those that are related to manual mode.
6) TAKE PHOTOS
Believe me, if you didn't read or consult any of the 5 previous options, just taking photos in manual mode, one after another, it doesn't matter if they don't come out correct, you there taking photos every day, on any occasion that lends itself, give it to you I paste, observing your results and modifying some settings again to see the difference between one result and another, believe me, only with that after a while would you be able to perfectly master manual mode. Actually, the principle behind manual mode in photography is very intuitive, and discovering it yourself by practicing photography every day is often a very rewarding experience.
Remember that taking photos is what makes you a photographer. You are not a photographer because you have a camera. You are not for reading a photography blog. Taking photos is what makes you a photographer.
Taking photos makes you great.
Happy photography ?
Postscript 1: If you are starting in photography, I would like you to select one of the 6 ways that I recommend above and put it into practice in a disciplined way.
Postscript 2: If you found this article useful, please give it the spread or recommendation you think it deserves.