Photography 101 – How to Shoot in Manual Mode

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I have had some much fun putting together this blogging photography series for everyone.  Today we are putting it all together and talking about how to shoot in manual mode exclusively.  If you have not already viewed my other photography tutorials, I insist you start there otherwise, this may not make sense.  If you only have time for one, start by reading how to achieve that blurry background in your pictures HERE.  You can also click this blogging freebies tab HERE for the complete tutorials list.  Remember, I am completely self taught.  If I can do this; so can you.

I think the biggest help for me when it came to manual settings, was really just trying to figure out how to play around with all three of the setting.  Tweaking them in order to capture that perfect lighting, the crisp shot and allowing the natural colors in the photo to come through, without having to increase the ISO too much.  Obviously, shooting outside allows that to happen.  A cloudy or overcast day is the best, no shadows or overblown colors to deal with.  So I thought I would show you some of my recent shots and what my camera was set at.  That way you have a starting point or idea how what to set your manual setting at.  Sound good?  Okay let’s do this.

First, I do want to mention I use this camera with this lens.  Highly debating upgrading to this full frame body.  (I’m thinking of selling my current setup, if you are interested email me).  I have not edited any of these pictures (besides cropping on some) so you can see what they really look like.

How to Shoot in Manual Mode.  Pin Me!

how to shoot in manual mode

Outside Photography Shots

Direct sunlight, wanted a blurry background, increase that shutter speed to compensate for the lower F-stop then.

black coverup. SUNDRESS beach cover up.  (Shutter speed 1/1600 sec, F-stop 3.5, ISO 100)
Beach Coverup Restocked SUNDRESS HERE

Tassel Cover Up

(Shutter speed 1/1600 sec, F-stop 3.5, ISO 100)
Beach Tassel Coverup Under $35 here

Now look at the difference here.  I think I should have increased the shutter speed more, these look slightly “blown” to me.  If the shutter speed had been increased, the colors would have been a little richer. Also, I was battling between the shade and then direct sun.   I think these shots in the same location don’t look as good.  Notice the difference in my settings.  My F-stop was up higher and the background is more in focus and not blurred like the ones above.

Peony Workout Gear

(Shutter Speed 1/250, F-stop 6.3, ISO 200)

The sun was at a different angle and look how the mood of this picture changes.

Tassel Beach cover up

(Shutter speed 1/1600 sec, F-stop 3.5, ISO 100)

Outside, sun out but using the building to not compete with direct sunlight.

Off the Shoulder Dress copySusana Monaco Dress

(shutter speed 1/125 sec, F-stop 6.3, ISO 200)
Dress Susana Monaco HERE ||| Saddle Bag restocked HERE ||| Wedges restocked HERE

Outside, very sunny, building blocking the sun.

Joie Top, Rag & Bone Shorts

(Shutter speed 1/400 seconds, F-stop 3.2, ISO 100)
Bucket Bag HERE ||| BF Shorts HERE ||| Grey Joie Top HERE ||| Sunnies HERE

Outside, cloudy, wanted the very blurry background due to the composition of the long row of bushes.  Make sure when your f-stop is that low, the person shooting you tries to get the red dot focused on you. Otherwise, your camera may focus on something in the background like the tree branch which will be in focus and you will be blurry.  We had a few like that, until some helpful suggestions…..

Joie Maxi and Chambray top chambray top

(Shutter speed 1/2656 seconds, F-stop 2.0, ISO 400)
Chambray top HERE ||| Joie Maxi (70% off!) HERE ||| Tory Burch bag HERE

Outside, cloudy and against a building.

BB Dakota Floral dressSide view BB Dakota

(Shutter speed 1/250 seconds, F-stop 5.6, ISO 400)
Floral Dress BB Dakota HERE ||| Saddle Bag restocked HERE ||| Wedges restocked HERE

For those flower connoisseurs out there.  I actually took this with my Olympus Pen Camera.  My Dad is the President of the Sarasota Orchid Society.  Yes, as you can see where I learn my Type A need to overachieve comes from.  Well it’s pretty much from both but see, can’t be just the student.  Either have to be the teacher or the president.


(Shutter speed 1/200, F-stop 8, ISO 200)

Let’s show a few inside now.  I had to slow down the shutter speed (make sure you have a steady hand to prevent blur/shaking) and the ISO has to be increased.  It adds “noise” but at least it’s better than adding a flash.

Brocante Market St. Petersburg Brocante fixture

(Shutter speed 1/60 sec, F-stop 2.8, ISO 1600)

Wooden Rooster MenuISO tutorials

(Shutter speed 1/100, F-stop 3.5 and ISO 800)

This is my recent favorite shot.  The only editing I did was add a tiny bit of saturation to make the pink pop.  I love the composition with the straight lines of the sky, the beach line and the strap of the top.

Sundress Indiana Beach Cover Up

(Shutter speed 1/1600 sec, F-stop 3.5, ISO 100)

So there you go!  How to shoot in manual mode.  We are putting it all together to take the best pictures possible for your blog or daily love for shooting photography.  Have you been practicing?  What do you find the most trouble with when you shoot in manual mode?  I hope these tutorials have been helpful.  If you like them, I would appreciate if you would like on Bloglovin or pin for future reference.  My next tutorial I have planned for you is about shooting with different lens and how it creates different looks for your pictures.  What would you like me to cover on the next installment of these photography tutorials?  Make sure to check out my Blogging Freebies tab for more tutorials and blog how-to’s.

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22 responses to “Photography 101 – How to Shoot in Manual Mode”

  1. I need to start having Gary shoot in manual mode…I might just print this out and have it handy when we’re taking pictures! LOL xo, Biana –BlovedBoston

  2. So many great tips! We are always messing with manual mode!

    Whitney & Blaire

    Peaches In A Pod

  3. Jenn says:

    Thank you for more photography tips! Also I love that beach tassel cover up!

  4. I love this girl, thank you!! I have to admit…’s time I get better at my pics and invest the time into learning : ) You have gorgeous shots and I love the pop and crispness in all of them!!

    I’m will explore all the links you suggested and learn babyyyyy!


  5. These are such great tips girl! It’s so difficult getting the perfect setting then having the sun move or shoot it at a different angle! <3, Pamela Sequins & Sea Breezes

  6. emelia says:

    As always, awesome tips. Thank you so much for sharing girl!

  7. I have so much to learn, still with the point and shoot but pinning all of these for future reference! Great tutorial!

  8. Rebecca Jo says:

    So you are going to go with the full frame camera? Do what makes you happy girl :)

    I am going to confess – I’m not a huge fan of Manual mode – only because things happens so fast in sessions / weddings that I dont have time to adjust settings for each picture. So I love the Aperture mode for most things & I just know I can correct about 95% of things with photoshop shooting in RAW. Maybe that’s lazy – but I find its better for me to make sure I capture the shot & then just tweak for better exposure/coloring.

    But its always good to know your camera & see how it all works together.

  9. I really need to relearn manual mode! I knew what everything meant at one time back in college when I took a class. Now I can’t remember and mostly shoot in auto. These are great tips and I love your shots! I’m eager to see what you say about when to use which lens. I’m always wondering which lens I should take on vacation!

  10. Nichole says:

    One I learned to shoot manual, I never looked back!

  11. Thanks again for putting together such a helpful tutorial! I’ve started to play a lot with my camera in manual mode, and you’ve given me such helpful tricks! It’s been a lot of fun following along!

  12. Lindsay says:

    I can’t wait to get a big girl camera someday and have a reason to use all your incredible tips!!! Saving them all for that day : )

  13. Nadine says:

    Don’t mind me as I pin this for later :) You always have the best tutorials and I appreciate all your hard work that goes in to sharing :)

  14. Tiffany says:

    I need to get my hubby more on board with the photos. He hates doing it right now. I guess I don’t ask him to enough so he starts to like it, haha!

  15. Owen Davis says:

    This is so great!! I need to sit down and work on my photog skills and shooting in manual. I have a nice camera that I never take advantage of because I never have time to practice! Such great pics and obsessed with your cover ups! Xo

  16. Karly says:

    This was a fantastic tutorial, girlfriend! Ryan and I are working at the photography side of things every. single. day, so I’m definitely saving this and showing it to him when he gets home later!

  17. Jaelan says:

    Your photography is killing it! Love these tutorials. Once you learn how to rock a DSLR, the world is your photographic oyster. ;)

  18. This is an awesome post! Now that the weather is getting nicer here, I can’t wait to get outside and practice with my camera more. I tried in the winter, but was too cold to take my gloves off to use the camera, lol!

  19. As I’m about to invest in a DSLR I’m so excited to revisit all these posts! I love this series because you tell us, as bloggers, how to use our cameras. Photography books and classes go into things I don’t care about!

  20. This was incredibly helpful, I can’t wait to put your tips and tricks to work this summer! Xo, Stephanie

  21. I came back to find this now that I have two classes under my belt and I finally am getting it! I was having trouble last night shooting in manual inside and I wish I would have pulled this up!

  22. Peony Blurred Lace Print Leggings

    […] of because I never have time to practice! Such great pics and obsessed with your […]

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