This Cheat Sheet Will Help You Learn Manual Photography Better

If you’ve decided to take the manual photography route, Skylum has a cheat sheet to help you get started. 

Another day, another photography cheat sheet. There’s a lot of them out there, especially for those who want to break away from the auto mode and take full control of their camera settings. But we can never stress enough how important it is to learn how to shoot in manual mode to maximize your creative potential. With this cheat sheet from Skylum, you won’t have to dive blindly into manual photography.

Manual photography cheat sheets like this show the practical applications of the exposure triangle — the three variables that make up the exposure of a photograph. So, the first part of the infographic is an introduction to the aperture, ISO, and shutter speed, and what the different settings do to the image. While we’re at it, you might also want to check out some of the tutorials we have so far about the topic to give you an idea.

“It’s important to remember that these exposure settings won’t work in all lighting conditions, but they’re a good jumping-off point. By learning the exposure triangle, you can easily adjust your settings in manual mode. If one variable changes, at least one other must change as well. Experimentation is such a fun way to learn photography,” Skylum said in their post about their manual photography infographic.

To give us an idea about the different exposure settings in action, the infographic shows some popular subjects and techniques where manual controls will come in handy. Skylum also included some tips to make the best exposure possible given these settings. Among these are using tripods for long exposures as with night photography and panning to blur motion, using prime lenses with wide apertures for flattering portraits with beautifully blurred backgrounds, making bokeh, using wide angle lenses for landscape photography, and setting the white balance to cloudy or shade when shooting sunrise or sunset.

With enough practice, and hopefully guided by this cheat sheet, Skylum says you’ll master different photography techniques and won’t shoot in auto mode again. Do experiment with different settings so you can get the hang of it.

Cover photo by Brandon Wehman