Introduction: Taking a Photo in Manual Mode

Hello, I am Anne Stenberg. I have been doing photography since I was 15 years old. My goal is to help you become a better photographer. In six steps I will show you how to take higher quality photos for yourself or others to enjoy. By learning to take photos in manual mode you will feel more confident in your photography skills and create the photos you have always been wanting. Before starting these items will be needed, a DSLR or a mirrorless camera and a 50-millimeter lens. Learning to take photos in manual mode takes patience and practice.


  • DSLR Camera or Mirrorless Camera
  • 50-millimeter lens

Step 1: Power on the Camera

The first thing to do will be to turn on the camera. The power switch or button can be located in a different area depending on the brand and type of camera. When the camera turns on, locate the button that changes the view from the viewfinder to the live view. Viewing through the live view helps see what changes are being made live versus looking through a small hole.

Step 2: Manual Setting

After changing the viewing setting, find the dial on the camera that changes the different settings of the camera. With this dial, turn it to the manual settings, which is also known as a capital “M” on the dial. This will put your camera into manual setting. In manual settings, the user is able to control the lighting, depth of filed, and shutter speed.

Step 3: Adjusting to the Light

Now, it is time to get into the light adjustments. A photo taken in manual mode should not be over exposed or under exposed. The lens will do the focusing as it will be in auto focus. To adjust the exposure, the amount of light coming in, find the ISO. First adjust the ISO. This will be under the “ISO” setting in the camera. The ISO adjusts how bright and how dark the photo will be, but do not overexpose or underexpose the photo. Over and under exposing will make the photo washed out or too dark. Next, adjust the f-stop. The f-stop is how to adjust the depth of field. The lower the number the more blur or bokeh the photo will have around the subject. The higher the number the less blur there will be. Then adjust the shutter speed. This shutter speed controls how fast the shutter will open or close. The lower the number the lower the shutter. The higher the number the faster the shutter. In low light the shutter speed will be slower to allow more light to come in. In brighter light the shutter speed will be higher. Then adjust the ISO if needed.

Step 4: Taking the Photo!

Time to take the photo! Point the camera towards the subject and make sure it is in focus. Next, find the button that will capture the photo. Normally this button will be directly under the pointer finger for natural placement. Hold this button halfway down, this will allow the autofocus to track the subject that needs to be in focus. Finally, push the button all the way down when ready to snap the photo. There will be an audible shutter noise when the photo is taken. To review the photo, find the play button, it will be a square with an arrow inside pointing right.

Step 5: Conclusion

Now that we have successfully taken a photo in manual mode, we can go out and practice more in different times of the day. Doing this will not only improve your skills, but will also help you learn more about your camera!