Photography Cheat Sheet: Manual Mode Settings Whatever the Weather

Still getting a grip on the Exposure Triangle and the effect of each element on your photos? This cheat sheet will serve as a quick guide for shooting, whatever the weather.

If you’ve decided to give manual photography a go but haven’t mastered the settings yet, don’t worry, we have just the right stuff for you. With today’s photography cheat sheet, you’ll be able to put the Exposure Triangle concept to the test and shoot with confidence in good or bad weather. Put on your comfy shoes, pack your gear, and have a copy of this cheat sheet ready for your next photo walk!

Shooting in manual mode can be understandably daunting for beginners and intermediate photographers. It requires a lot of practice and some experimentation to get the hang of it. The photography cheat sheet below, by Panda Photo School (website no longer available), will provide a head start in your next shoot and will save you the time of fiddling with the controls.

The cheat sheet covers the commonly used ISO settings from 100 to 1600. Today’s digital cameras can go above and below these values, but for practice, especially shooting outdoors, these are all you’ll need. As for the aperture and shutter speed settings, the combination for each weather condition is also indicated. This is especially handy while shooting during the winter, when everything is covered in snow; or summer, when you’re more inclined to shoot scenes with sun, sea, and sand. The suggested settings will make sure you don’t get overexposed, washed out shots during these conditions.

When the weather is dreary or cloudy during your shoot, you’ll most likely be forced to use either a wider aperture, a slower shutter speed, or a higher ISO. Whichever you pick, the cheat sheet indicates the necessary adjustments you’ll have to make for the other two exposure values.

Apart from the Exposure Triangle, the basis of this photography cheat sheet is the Sunny 16 Rule. We highly suggest checking out our two-part guide on the Sunny 16 Rule here and here to learn more. Meanwhile, we have loads more photography cheat sheets in case you’re up for more photography tips and tricks!