The question of why you should learn to manually control your DSLR actually has one very simple answer - because you are smarter than your camera! Honestly, that piece of high tech gadgetry you hold in your hands actually needs a lot of guidance from you to take great pictures. Here's some reasons why I think it's so important to take control of your camera and move away from the AUTO functions.....
#1 To Expose for your Subject
You really only get full control of exposure when you use manual mode. It allows you to make sure that your scene is exposed correctly, and that your SUBJECT is correctly exposed - so you don't get a beautifully exposed sky and a dark, underexposed subject. (unless of course that is what you are going for!) This fine level of control means you can create amazing images in any kind of light.
#2 Create Interesting Images
You might manage to do this unintentionally from time to time, but photographing silhouettes is another great reason to shoot in manual mode, as is starbursts!
#3 Separating Your Subject from the Background
In Manual mode you can create those beautifully blurred backgrounds that allows the subject to stand out and be the main feature. This little trick of separating your background from the subject is used a lot in portrait photography (you can learn how to do this in an earlier post here) and is a great one to master!
#4 Creating A Different Focal Point
Taking control of your camera means you can choose what you want to be the point of interest in your picture. In some cases this will be your child, but in other cases you may choose to have something else in focus, like in the picture on the left. This is one of my favorite things about controlling about focus manually.
#5 Controlling how motion is captured
If there is one thing shooting on Auto will give you sometimes, it's blurry pictures due to motion blur (even if is just means they are slightly "soft") Taking control of your camera and telling it that there is fast motion means that your pictures will come out clear and sharp. Or you can go the other way, and use shutter speed to create motion blur.
#6 Wave Goodbye to Pop Up Flash
in lower light situations your camera is likely to turn on the pop up flash, leading to horribly exposed "snapshot" pictures. Taking control of your settings allows you to photograph in low light without resorting to flash!
#7 Get the Color Right
Have you ever noticed that sometimes your photos have an unnatural blur or yellow tinge to them? That's the camera picking the wrong white balance when on AUTO - move to setting it yourself to get true and accurate colour.
As you can see there are so many reasons why you would want to take control over all the settings in your camera, and we cover how to do it, step by freakin' step, in my Auto to Awesome ecourse.
But even learning how to control just one or two elements will improve your photography immensely, and once you have learned them all there really is no limit to what you can do! If following a full course is too much for you right now but you'd like to get started, why not join me for a 7 Day Beginners Bootcamp. It's totally FREE, and it will get you moving away from the Auto functions in your camera and taking better images in just a week! You can find out more about the Beginners Bootcamp here or sign up below!