Manual Exposure week

March 08 , 2009 by: Haje Jan Kamps Uncategorized


For the coming week, here’s a challenge for you: Abandon the safety of Program (P) mode. Shy away from Aperture priority (Av) or Shutter priority (Tv) modes, and reach for the holy grail of photography: The M of Miracles, Magic and other alliterative phrases. Yes, kids, it’s time to stop letting the machine do the thinking for you, and do all the hard work yourself.

I admit it; I’m as bad as the next man. “Hell, I’ve earned this”, I tell myself. “I paid a lot of money for a camera that has a good light meter, who am I to second-guess it”? And I’m right of course – Programme mode is great for snapshots. I use Aperture priority mode frequently when I want the fastest possible shutter time. And I override the light meter too, by setting a -2/3 Exposure value, because I’m petrified of over-exposures.

Rusty by boliston (Creative Commons) on Flickr

But here’s how the boys are separated from the men, and the girls from the women: Unless you have an instinctive feeling for how shutter times and apertures work in perfect harmony, you’ll be struggling to really realise your visions as a photographer. Opinion? Fact? Who knows, but what have you got to lose? Go on, go manual, and add your photos to the Manual group on Flickr while you are at it. (Or you could, y’know, start the manual mondays challenge!)

For one week only, set your camera to Manual, and take photos only like that. Don’t cheat even once. At the end of the week, if you still don’t like it, then you’re welcome to switch back.

But I bet a good few of you would benefit greatly from making the switch, if but temporarily. I know I will.

Good luck!

Big thanks to @Patryk for the idea, and to boliston for the illustration image.

Do you enjoy a smattering of random photography links? Well, squire, I welcome thee to join me on Twitter –

© Kamps Consulting Ltd. This article is licenced for use on Pixiq only. Please do not reproduce wholly or in part without a license. More info.

About Haje Jan

This post was written by Haje Jan Kamps, who has written 569 articles for Photocritic

Haje has written half a dozen books about photography. He spends most of his time running Triggertrap, a company that creates creative tools for triggering your camera.

His most recent books are:


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