The Ultimate Cheat Sheet For Manual Photography

Photography, like all other works of art, may appear as surreal, yet it is an expression of an imperfect world. As a creative fact, photography reveals the story behind the picture and the efforts of a photographer.

In photography, a good picture is usually that which has creative thought, meaning, and relevance. It is an art that has sprung out from the hidden aspirations of an individual. You can start practicing at home only, maybe in your own bathroom.

However, this art also requires technical knowledge. From having full control over the shutter speed to managing the ISO, everything goes way beyond than just aspirations. In fact, shooting in manual mode is the only perfect way to master photography. It is also highly useful for obtaining pictures with blurred background, fine-tune images, and amazing shots of the fast-moving objects. This is why shooting in the manual mode is quite important. Be it a beginner or a professional, manual mode will always be your lifesaver. Here is a cheat sheet that will help you learn manual photography faster. Let’s begin! 


It is one of the common terms often used by photographers. Basically, an aperture is responsible for controlling the Depth of Field and it is an opening in the lens that you can clearly see while taking pictures. The aperture will determine the amount of exposure a picture gets. 

According to the photography rule, the lower the f-stop, the larger your lens will open. This means that a larger lens opening will be ideal for pictures with blurry backgrounds (less depth of field). Similarly, the higher the f-stop or aperture the sharper images you will be able to click, In other words, a smaller opening of the lens will help you capture tiny details better. 


ISO is one of the most talked-about features of the camera and rightly so. It will have a greater impact on your picture because this feature enables you to experiment with light. If you are new to the camera and you don’t know what ISO is, just look at the numeric value on the camera. This value will help you control light sensitivity and allow you to capture more light in the darker areas. Not only this but ISO will also allow you to control the light when it is bright and sunny outside. I personally feel that you should experiment with different lighting. Especially if you are a beginner and make sure your ISO is not too high during dark conditions. 

White Balance

White balance will directly affect your image just like all the other settings in the camera. Basically, this feature will allow you to remove all the unrealistic colors and it will automatically give you the freedom to click naturally toned pictures. It is useful in removing harsh colors that degrade the quality of a picture – harsh yellow tones in the scenery, redness on the skin, etc. All these colors can be optimized with the help of White Balance (WB). However, make sure that you use it in unconventional ways only to perfect the quality of the picture. 

Let us take an example, a picture with an edge requires Tungsten White Balance. This setting will allow you to produce hues of blue and enhanced contrast. So, keep this in mind and adjust the white balance to achieve the desired photograph. 

Shutter Speed 

Another important setting that will help you master the art of photography. The shutter speed of your camera will determine the time allowed for the inner shutter to stay open. For example, imagine you are shooting a bunch of dogs who are good at protecting. What will your shutter speed be? It will depend on the following circumstances. If you need blurred shots demonstrating the activity of the dogs then keep the shutter open for long. However, if you are after a pristine shot with no motion blurs then a faster shutter speed will be suitable. 

dogs who are good at protecting

Always keep in mind, when you are prepared to shoot in the manual mode, your settings will require adjustments. – based on the environment you are in and the outcome you want. By keeping the above-mentioned points in mind you will be able to ensure the exposure is optimum, image is consistent and the lighting is good. This is what shooting with the help of an automatic mode lacks.