Photography Basics

Today’s post is a little different but I hope it will be super helpful to you for tips and advice on Photography and Camera modes. I spent 2 years studying Photography and currently have my own business. I have been asked a few questions on how to use manual mode and definitions on the technical terms.
I’m going to start with the basics today but if you would like me to go in to more depth let me know and I’ll do a stage 2 blog post!
So to start with, what even is manual mode?
Manual mode allows you to change all aspects of how you take the photo.
What is Aperture?
Aperture is basically what controls how blurry the background is. Technically known as depth of field (DOF) I will pop a little diagram below but as an example if you chose f2.4 on your aperture settings, your background would be super blurry which is perfect for close ups and product shots. However if you went for f11 this is more suited for travel photos, ensuring everything is in focus.
What is shutter speed?
Shutter speed controls how much light enters the camera. A basic example would be, if you were photographing someone in action, you would go for a quick shutter speed to ensure the image has no motion blur. However if you wanted to achieve those beautiful landscape shots with smooth seas you would choose a slower one allowing the cameras shutter to be open for longer.
If you are going to use slow shutter speed a good tripod is essential, I tend to go towards the heavy ones as they are a lot sturdier.
When going back to Manual mode it is crucial you fully understand how the 2 work, both Aperture and Shutterspeed, as they will need to work together.
Sometimes to get your head around it I recommend using Aperture Priority to start with (A). You can play around with this setting to find what you like and the camera will define what Shutter Speed you need. You can then move onto shutter priority (S) and play around on there. I find it really helps on gaining an understanding on how each one works independently. Then when you feel confident, you can start to play around with Manual mode. Don’t be afraid to try the settings, if it goes wrong, it’s the perfect way to learn!
Quick Tip – If your camera has interchangeable lenses and you are thinking of getting a new one, I highly recommend a 50mm lens. This provides those lovely product shots with the blurred background and if you are just starting out, it works on Auto mode! But push yourself and practice with the new settings!
I hope you found this super useful and if you have any questions let me know and I will happily answer them!
Manual Image from Imagemaven Aperture Image from Petapixel Shutterspeed Image from B&H  


  1. 19th March 2017 / 11:34 am

    Aww this is super helpful, Heather, thank you! The way you’ve described it makes so much more sense than some of the guides I’ve read on photography websites! Can’t wait for our photography day ☺???? xxx

    • heather-admin
      19th March 2017 / 8:22 pm

      Oh good I’m so glad you found it helpful! Yes it’s going to be great!! Can’t wait!

  2. 23rd March 2017 / 3:22 pm

    This was SUCH a useful post – thank you! Lovely meeting you the other day and I love this photography tips blog – please do more! ???? xxx

    • heather-admin
      23rd March 2017 / 4:09 pm

      Hi Sophie, I’m so glad you found this useful! It was lovely to meet you too would be nice to meet up again 🙂 I will certainly carry on I have a new one going up soon! x

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