Real Photographers Only Use Manual Mode

September 16, 2021  •  Leave a Comment

I have asked and spoke with several professional photographers and to debunk the title right away let's set it straight.  Four out of four professional photographers I asked the answer was very similar.   The answer was clear that they do use manual a lot, but they also use other modes as well.

The line for a professional photographer has really blurred in recent years due to ease of entry.  There are many influencers on YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Tik Tok, etc. making a comfortable full-time wage.  Many of them are just using their cell phones or simple DLSRs or point-and-shoot cameras.  If you haven't noticed technology has advanced and many of the inexpensive options are in the game.

In the past month, I have been writing posts and creating YouTube videos on how to get in manual mode with your camera.  During this time I have been staying in aperture priority because that is the step I have been recommending.  What I found interesting is that I learned some new things.  It wasn't something on aperture priority mode that I was not aware of.  What I learned was totally unexpected.  Different enough to put it off to the next paragraph.  But first, I must share a photo from my aperture priority mode.  You can see this and the rest of the photoshoot on my YouTube video that was released at the same time as this blog.

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What I learned was that I felt very limited during this time while I was forcing myself to stay in aperture priority mode.  So, I want to make a couple of points from what I learned.  First, get out of your comfort zone and try things you have not tried before.  And secondly, put some restrictions on your photography and see how you adjust.  

Getting out of your comfort zone is trying new settings such as aperture priority mode.  No matter if it is to learn settings to get you off of automatic, or you a photographer that only uses (mostly uses) manual mode.  Doing things differently will help you learn and also help you discover some things about yourself that you did not know.

Putting restrictions on your photography is a technique/game you can implement to increase creativity.  One of the more common of these I have seen on several blogs, forums, social media locations, etc is to put a single prime lens on your camera for a day and that is the only lens you can use.  I had not thought of doing that with settings as well.

So, let's end this blog with some challenges for you to try.

  1. Only use aperture priority mode
  2. Only use shutter priority mode
  3. Only use manual mode
  4. Use only one focal length
  5. Only use manual focus
  6. Every photo must have a specific color (the same color must be in all photos)
  7. Shoot only in a vertical orientation
  8. Shoot only in landscape orientation

Those are some ideas I like and would love to hear back from you on some ideas.  Leave me a comment below on your thoughts on this blog post.  I went in two directions but like them both.  I started with the assumption that "Real Photographers Only Use Manual Mode" and ended with some challenges for you to think about trying.  So, I am looking forward to both topics.

  • Do you shoot in a single mode all the time?
  • What ideas can you add to my challenge list?




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