Manual Mode – 3 Step System

February 9, 2021

Want to know what will be the biggest game changer in your photography journey? Learning manual mode. Taking your camera off of auto and manually adjusting the settings for yourself. This is how you create the images that you want.

I’m so excited to share my three step system with you to achieving perfect exposure using manual mode!

Here we go…


What in the world is manual mode?

You might be asking yourself….”what in the world is manual mode?”. Manual mode is simply a mode on your camera that lets you have a 100% control of how the final image will look. This is the mode that professionals use. So it’s the one that you want to have if you want those professional looking images. If you’ve been in photography land for any amount of time you’ve probably heard the term “exposure triangle” and let me just give you permission to throw all of that out the window real quick.

This is where my 3 step system comes in handy. It simplifies things into easy to remember steps to adjusting your settings in the right order.

Aperture. ISO. Shutter speed.

Story time!

Ready for a quick story? My dad is a Pastor and was out the door early for church every Sunday so it was up to my mom to get all of us kids wrangled, dressed, and ready. We were typical kids who would fight, take forever, forget our shoes, etc that she eventually got to the place in her motherhood that she would just yell ‘AIS IN 10 MINUTES!” and this pretty much meant that we better have our a$$ in the car seat in 10 minutes or we were being left.

This is where the story relates to manual mode….I grew up hearing AIS everyday of my childhood that it just stuck and I had an epiphany as I was beginning to learn manual mode. And now THIS is what you’re going to use to remember manual mode.


A$$. In. Seat.

Aperture. ISO. Shutter speed.

But what do these things actually mean for shooting in manual mode?

Now you might be thinking….ok, but what do these things actually mean for shooting in manual mode? Let’s break them down.

Aperture- this is what controls how blurry your background is. The lower the number, the blurrier the background. Ask yourself how many people are going to be in your picture and set your aperture accordingly. One person= 1.8, two people=2.8, three people=3.2, and so on.

ISO- this is how much light you are letting into your camera. The lower your ISO, the less light you’re letting in. So if you’re shooting on a bright sunny day, you’re going to set it to 100-200. If you’re in shade you’ll want to raise it to maybe 400-500. (read this blog post to learn more about light)

Shutter Speed- how fast your shutter opens and closes. Once you set your aperture and ISO you’re going to change your shutter speed up or down until your meter is on 0.

That’s it. Manual mode made simple.

Want more content? Make sure you join us in Brittany Bruce Education!

Grab your camera, head outside, and practice using the AIS system!



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