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What is Manual Mode?

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Manual Mode is a DSLR camera shooting mode that gives the user full control of all settings like aperture, shutter speed and ISO. Manual Mode is represented by the letter “M” on the mode dial on the top of your DSLR camera.

In Manual Mode the photographer calculate both shutter speed and aperture and the ISO value is also selected by the user or it can be given automatically if is set by on the settings menu. Manual mode is an exposure mode similar to the priority modes like Aperture and Shutter, but unlike those modes you have to set both the aperture and the shutter speed by hand.

If you’ve practiced with the program mode and learned to control the flash, the ISO value, and the white balance. Along with P mode if you focused on using aperture-priority and shutter-priority modes, then it’s a simple step to move on to full manual mode.

How To Use Manual Mode?

Manual mode allows the photographer to control shutter speed, aperture and ISO independently.

Once you’ve selected Manual mode, you’ll need to decide what is most important to the success of the picture. Is it the depth of field (using aperture) or the duration of the exposure (using shutter speed). What settings you’ll actually need will also depend on how much available light there is.

Manual mode gives you the freedom to select a more suitable combination of aperture and shutter speed for a given situation.


Selecting The Manual Mode

Set your camera mode dial to the “M”, once you are in the manual mode, point your camera at the subject and press the shutter half way down. All DSLRs have metering and an exposure level indicator. This will be represented both in the viewfinder, and either on the camera’s LCD screen.

When to Use the Manual Mode

  • Keeping the exposure constant in varying light conditions – especially useful when stitching or doing time lapse videos.
  • Preventing improperly exposed photos in conditions that are giving the camera’s exposure meter fits.
  • Balance the ratio between ambient and flash light in flash photography, especially when indoors.

Advantages of the Manual Mode

As you become a more advanced photographer, you will want to have control over your camera. DSLRs don’t always know what you’re trying to photograph. Their primary objective is to get enough light into the image, and they don’t always know the proper exposure and sure what it is you’re trying to achieve from your photo.