So you have a DSLR or fancy camera and want to create great images but auto or program mode just are not cutting it for you?
I am here to tell you that shooting in Manual or "M" mode on a canon is not that hard. I promise. I am not saying it is easy and will not take practice, but once you know how to shoot in manual, it becomes second nature and gives you more control over your images. I also shoot in aperture priority mode and honestly am about 50/50 AV and M mode. However, the longer I shoot, the more I shoot in manual.
Before you start shooting in manual mode, you need to have an idea of what your photography style is and what type of settings you like to use to create the look you are going for.
My go to settings are:
Aperture: f/2.0 - f/6 (typically f/2.8)
Shutter Speed: 1/100 and faster
ISO: 160, 320, 640, 1000
I am a portrait photographer and do not like being confined to a tripod, that is why I choose my aperture and shutter speed settings. If you are a landscape photographer, you may want an aperture of possibly f/8 or f/11.
Once you nail your style and shooting in manual, it allows you to really focus on your subject and stop thinking about your camera settings so much, it helps you improve consistency. Or at least this is what shooting in manual has done for me. Plus when your camera is in manual and you are out of auto mode, it forces you to make conscious decisions about what type of pictures you want to take, it helps you define your style.
So you might be thinking, that I should have included all this techno language on exposure triangles and what not. All that is important, however there are people out there much more qualified than myself to teach that. Go out and read articles my peers have already published on how to understand your camera and how shutter speed interacts with aperture. But most importantly after you think you understand a little bit, grab your camera and go out and practice on your food in the kitchen, or flowers growing outside or other objects that will not move or complain because it make take a bit longer to "get the shot" when you are first learning.
Good luck on your journey of photographing in manual mode and feel free to reach out to me via email if you would like some pointers or to chat more.