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Why use manual settings? #photography

SNOW 17 JAN 2016  (46)

I went out on Sunday and took some photographs while we had a little snow. It was cloudy but the snow reflected quite a lot of light. You can set your camera on the landscape setting for this type of shot and the camera will set the aperture narrow and measure the light for you, but it won’t adjust for snow!

The camera doesn’t know whether you want a dark picture or a lighter picture. Instead of just taking a picture, you can create the picture you want by using the manual setting or the semi-manual settings.

BEER (2) B

I set my camera on the macro setting yesterday, it looks like a flower, to take this shot. It looks good, it’s quite a sharp image but the beer cans are a little bit dark. The camera flash popped up and fired, so it wasn’t really a lack of light that was the problem.

BEER (1) A

For this shot, I used aperture priority and had a lot more control. I set the aperture as wide as I could get it to allow lots of light into the camera. I was taking the shot in the kitchen where there is a fluorescent light, so I set the white balance on fluorescent. The shot is a lot brighter and this was without the flash. The cans still look a little dark and so I tried setting the metering on spot metering so the camera would measure the light being reflected by the cans.

BEER (4) C

Now the picture is very bright and again it was without using the flash. A really bright picture like this might be used in advertising. I could have taken more shots, perhaps moving the darker cans closer to the camera and the lighter objects away from the camera. Notice the background is blurred, because I have a wide aperture and a shallow depth of field. You can use a wide aperture for food photography too or any macro shots of flowers and insects. A wide aperture is great for wildlife shots too.

You can experiment with the manual settings and experience will help you get the shot that you want. I use the P (programmed auto) setting mainly for flash photography. My camera measures the light through the lens (TTL) and so on that setting, I get a better light measurement. I use aperture priority when I want to set the aperture and leave the camera to set the shutter speed. The S setting is shutter speed priority and that is useful when you want a slow shutter speed to blur running water or a fast shutter speed to freeze the action while the camera decides the aperture. The M setting allows you to set both aperture and shutter speed and I used manual for some of my night shots of the fresh snow. These settings give you more control than the scene settings and that’s why they are favoured by keen amateurs and seasoned professionals alike.

That’s all for this week, you can subscribe to this blog by entering your email address in the space at the top of the sidebar or just follow me on Twitter for updates. You can see more pictures and tips on my Facebook page.

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