weymouth camera shop

Photography: Going Manual

Many photographers will say that you’re not a ‘proper’ photographer if you don’t shoot manually. Maybe such things as f/stops, shutter speed, and ISO are putting you off giving manual photography a go? Don’t worry too much if you’re not ready to go full-fledged manual just yet; two partial automatic modes can give you the control you need and a glimpse into what going fully manual would help you achieve – Aperture priority and Shutter priority.

The point of Auto is to make sure you image is exposed correctly, meaning the highlights aren’t too bright, and the shadows aren’t too dark. Three factors affect this – your aperture; the size of the opening through your camera lens, the shutter speed; the amount of time the shutter stays open, and the ISO; the image sensor’s light sensitivity.

Mastering Manual

If you’re going from a smartphone to a compact camera or DLSR, you wouldn’t have had to worry about any settings before. In Auto mode, your camera will handle a lot of that for you. However, if you’re willing to venture into the world of manual photography, you will open all sorts of creative opportunities.

So let’s take a look at those manual settings you’ll need to know.


Aperture is all about controlling the depth of field, effectively deciding which areas of your image you want in focus. For example, if you’re shooting wildlife or people, you can determine if you wish to keep them in sharp focus while blurring everything behind them or whether you want the whole image in focus.

If you love visiting zoos and safari parks, you could use the Aperture setting to capture beautiful photographs of wildlife in sharp focus whilst their cages are so close to the lens that they would blur enough to disappear from the shot.

For an image with the subject in sharp focus with a blurred background, you will need a wide aperture (a small f/stop number) if you want everything in focus; for example, in a landscape, you will need a narrow aperture (a large f/stop number). Experiment with the aperture settings; it’s up to you how you want to do it.

Shutter Speed

Shutter speed captures motion. Light trails and waterfalls are perfect examples of using shutter speed settings to create magical photographs. Being able to set your shutter speeds, you can slow down movement, or capture fast-moving objects in sharp focus.


ISO controls the quality of your image. A high number means the sensor is more sensitive to light, so the shutter doesn’t need to be open for so long. ISO helps you get shots in low-light conditions without using a flash. However, there is a downside, the higher the ISO, the more noise your image will have, so it may look grainy. Some cameras are better at handling this than others, but how much noise on your shot is entirely up to you. In general, you’ll want to use the lowest ISO setting you can get away with.

Manual Photography

There are a few cases when only manual will do. If you’re shooting a series of images and need them all to be the same light level, the same aperture, then shooting in manual is your best option. If you take a series of images in Auto, you won’t get the same lighting, so all photos in your series will be different, which may not be what you want and may need editing further in post production.

A feature that is incredibly useful in photography is shooting in RAW format. Unlike general jpegs, RAW files contain much more information, and therefore can be edited further than the standard jpeg in post production on programmes like Photoshop.


Weymouth, Dorchester & Dorset Camera Shop & Photo Printing Services

The Magic of Autumn

Autumn is a beautiful season that offers a wide range of photographic opportunities. From bright yellows to vibrant red and orange tones in the leaves to colourful but foggy landscapes, it’s easy to see why Autumn is the favourite season amongst photographers.

Here are a few tips you can use to capture some autumnal magic this year.

Sunrise or Sunset

The sun at dusk and dawn have the best kind of light. Commonly referred to as the ‘Golden Hour’, the times around sunset and sunrise are when the light is softest. Landscapes light up with a stunning golden glow, which will help the vibrant autumn colours to ‘pop’ and help create the perfect atmosphere for your shot.

The Magic of Autumn

Falling Leaves

One of nature’s most beautiful times of the year is when the many shades of yellow, orange and red Autumn leaves eventually fall to the ground. Some of photographers favourite things to shoot during this time of year are leaf-covered canals, woodland trails, or if you have a little model at hand (children or pets), you can capture some incredible memories. The fallen autumn leaves not only help to add texture and a pop of colour to your photographs, but they will also help as leading lines in your compositions and also convey motion.

The Magic of Autumn

Don’t Be Put Off by Bad Weather

I know, it’s easier said than done, those cold foggy mornings, you want to stay in bed. But don’t let the bad weather discourage you; Autumn has the unique ability to provide you with some brilliant colours and contrast. Woodland areas or bodies of water are perfect places to venture to on those overcast mornings.
Before heading out, check the weather and be prepared for anything.

The Magic of Autumn

White Balance

Experiment with your white balance settings for those moments that need just a little bit more of a helping hand to capture. If you want to add a warmer look to your photos to enhance the golden glow of a sunrise or sunset, try different white balance levels and adjust to suit.

The Magic of Autumn

Autumn photography is a season many landscape photographers love due to the many opportunities as the season goes on, but not without its challenges. Take your time setting up your shots and experiment with your compositions, subjects, perspectives, but most importantly, have fun!