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Manual Settings on Your SLR Digital Camera

Updated on February 8, 2018

Manual settings on your SLR digital camera

Almost all digital cameras are more than a point and shoot digital camera allow you to set manual settings. Doing this allows you to set the aperture and or the shutter speed. The advantage of having the capability to do this is, you can adjust the manual settings to fit the situation of shooting for an optimum outcome.

If your digital camera has the capabilities to use manual settings, and you are not taking advantage of it, you may miss out on some of the best shots you can get. Take a few minutes and read this article, take notes, and try to remember these tips next time you are out shooting. It could mean the difference between a good picture and a great picture with your digital camera.

Digital Camera Settings

Here are 10 tips you should memorize to help you take better photos with your digital camera with manual settings. You don’t have to have an SLR to use these tips, but you need to have a camera that you can shoot in manual mode.

A bonus tip before I get to the top 10. Read your manual and learn to use the features on your camera and practice using them so when you're in a situation where you need something different, you will know quickly what settings you'll need and how to set them.

1. The sunny 16 rule. The basic rule for taking photos outside in direct sunlight. Set your digital camera manual settings for F16 and shutter speed to 1/100.

2. The correct exposure for shooting the moon. Full moon F11 at 1/iso. ½ moon, F8 at 1/iso. ¼ moon, F5.6 at 1/iso. Set your digital camera on manual, set aperture at the proper f stop, then set shutter speed at. If you are shooting at iso 100, set shutter speed to 1/100.

3. The slowest shutter speed you should use for handheld shots, without image stabilization, is 1/ focal length of the lens. Ex. If shooting with a 300mm lens, you should not shoot below 1/300 if shooting hand held.

4. To get the best depth of field when taking a long shot. Focus, the camera about 1/3 of the way into shot and set your digital camera to aperture priority. Set aperture to largest f number you can while still having a fast enough shutter speed.

Used sunny 16 rule and made color change
Used sunny 16 rule and made color change

More manual Settings for Your Digital Camera

5. If you are taking an important shot. Bracket the shot or take several shots at different exposures. Also shoot in RAW format if you can. You can do a lot in post processing if you need to.

6. Use your fill flash when shooting outside. This will fill in facial shadows and make for better exposed shots if you are shooting objects within your flash range.

7. To get proper exposure for a sunset shot. Point the meter at the area above the sun, don’t include the sun in the metering. Then set your manual settings for your digital camera to 1 stop less than the meter reading.

8. One of the hardest scenes for a camera meter to read is a bright sunny day with snow covering the ground. If you want to take shots of you outdoor scenes with snow cover, take your meter reading and stop down 2 stops. This will make the snow come out white instead of gray.

9. To stop action. If subject moving across in front of you, you need to have a shutter speed of 1/500. If moving at 45 degrees to you 1/250 will do, and if moving toward you at a reasonable speed 1/125 will do.

10. Flash rule. If flash range is 20 ft at iso 100, it will work to 40 ft at iso 400.

springbrook nature center
springbrook nature center

Part 1 of a good video explanation of aperture and shutter speed

More good photography reading

How to shoot beautiful flower pictures Taking pictures of beautiful flowers is something I have always enjoyed. You see things on the photos and through the camera lens that you don't see just looking at them. Most people don't get down to flower level and really see the flower.

How to take great fireworks shots. Almost everyone loves fireworks. You can get some great fireworks pictures if you know the secrets. Just getting the shots can be fun, but to get the best shots you need to plan ahead.

How to organize your photos. The nice thing about a digital camera is that you can take as many photos as you want. The problem is, digital photo storage, how to organize and store your digital photos so you can find them later. Digital cameras are great because you can take so many more photos at no extra cost.

Take better vacation photos When you get home from a trip, the only thing you have to remember the great time you had are the vacation pictures that you took of your trip. You want to be sure that your vacation pictures will bring back great memories every time you look at them.



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    • spease profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Minneapolis Mn

      They really do make you better.

    • pinkhawk profile image


      7 years ago from Pearl of the Orient

      ...can't wait to try these things, thank you very much! ^_^

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Your a God send;-)

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      You are a God send;-)

    • louromano profile image


      7 years ago

      Woe. Wonderful camera information. Great hub


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