Manual mode (not) made easy

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Photography. We do it all the time. It’s easy,  you just set the dial to automatic and click. WRONG.

Photojournalists must not just take photos, they must make them. This means considering composition techniques, lighting, equipment choices and more.

I talk to my students all the time about moving beyond automatic. I talk to them about exposure in terms of white balance, ISO, shutter speed and aperture. I encourage them to use the shutter speed or aperture priority modes.

I felt like I had a pretty good grasp on these concepts especially after taking Teaching Photojournalism last semester. However, when I went to take photos for this assignment I realized while I may understand the theory behind concepts, my execution – at least in manual mode- needed some work.

The first week of the assignment I went out and shot my photos only to discover most were over or under exposed and were not useable.

I had to reshoot my images this weekend – nothing like procrastination huh? This time they turned out much better in general. However, a couple shots still proved tricky.

The items I struggled with most were silhouette and panned action. I still don’t feel my silhouette is a true representation, but it’s the best I had to work with.

The items I felt most comfortable shooting were the compositional items as well as the depth of fields as I love playing with those in my photography. Check out my gallery above to see the top 10 photos from my shoot.

Stepping into the shoes of a photographer made me realize that while I love photography and think I’m generally pretty good, I have a lot to learn about seeing the light and how the aspects of exposure work together – especially when I’m the one behind the controls.


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