There are five major mistakes that enthusiasts make when it comes to using their cameras in full manual mode. These incorrect assumptions stop them from getting the most out of their cameras, which I believe can only really happen in full manual mode.
Mistake #1. “It should all just work straight away”
Do you remember when you first learned to drive a manual car? Were you out on the highway flying along in 5th gear on the first day? Cameras are built with full manual features so you can have full control over every aspect. But the manual doesn’t come with advice on what to do about impatience. Give it time to learn, and before long you’ll be creating technically great pictures in no time.
Mistake #2. “I’ll just flick it to auto”
Your camera’s meter only ‘sees’ midtone grey, but your scene is almost always made up of more than just midtone grey. Therefore your camera’s meter cannot be soley relied upon to give you a correct exposure in auto mode. Additionally, in auto, your camera will work with pre-existing settings. For example if it’s left on ISO100 from yesterday, but today you are now shooting in a low-light scene that calls for ISO 6400, then your camera will try and fail at taking the photo for you at ISO100 because it’s way to slow for the current lighting situation.
Mistake #3. “I’m scared I’ll break my camera if I press the wrong buttons”
Actually, your camera is very robust and is quite like your computer in this respect. If you press a wrong button, go back, or turn the camera off and then on again. Fear is what underpins this worry, so why not equip yourself with the knowledge you need for your camera, so you can overcome that fear and get on with capturing beautiful photos?
Mistake #4. “I’m just not that creative”
This is a case of putting the cart before the horse. First, you need to understand the language of photography, the principles of manual shooting, and a good system to bring it all together to create technically beautiful pictures. Get across that first, and then you will naturally migrate into creative thinking once you are confident with the left brain technicals.
Mistake #5. “Manual takes too long”
All there is to say to this is practice, patience and perseverance makes perfect. It’s amazing how after a few tries, it starts to stick and make sense. Learning manual shooting, like learning anything new, takes effort and time. It’s uncomfortable and there are hurdles along the way. If you can be patient with that learning journey, the rewards are there. And besides, what takes five minutes to work out in the first few tries, quickly becomes a fluid few steps that are done in a matter of seconds.
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