There are lots of reasons why it’s a good idea to switch your camera from auto mode to manual mode. If you’re reading this, chances are you’re considering taking this leap already. In case you need a bit more convincing, here’s my top 4 reasons for shooting in manual mode...

1. You can control the depth of field.

Let’s face it, blurry background shots look pro and it's really not that tricky to pull off. To shoot like a pro, simply choose a wide aperture to keep your subject sharp and throw your backgrounds out of focus. With this photo taken in China Town, I only really wanted to focus on one lantern and the way the light fell on the Chinese symbols at the side. Setting my aperture to f2.2 meant that I was able to do just that. Everything else is just a hazy blur. Dreamy.

f2.2      1/640     ISO: 100

2. You can create a mood by controlling the amount of light in your photo.

There are some things which look great in silhouette. The Houses of Parliament, for example. Shooting in auto mode, your camera will presume too much. Aimed at this iconic building, your auto-mode camera will assume you simply want to record the detail of every nook and cranny. As creatives, we know that photography is way more fun than that. If you switch to manual mode and choose to expose for the bright sky instead of your subject, bingo! Silhouette.

f5.6      1/2500      ISO: 100

3. You can stop the flash from popping up.

Auto mode means that you’re basically letting your camera make all the decisions for you. If you let this happen and you’re somewhere with low light, your on camera flash will pop up to throw a bit more light on the scene. This kind of flash can often be pretty harsh and unflattering. It can also ruin the mood you're trying to convey. With the right lens and knowing how to manipulate my camera settings, I’ll usually favour ambient/natural light over flash. The shot below features the very cool techno-clockwork sign for the V&A entrance. Shooting this without a flash, the shiny acrylic and colours are captured at their best. 

f1.4     1/1000      ISO: 800

4. Unleash the creative in you.

Until I learnt to shoot in manual mode I never believed I was creative. In any way. Pass me some glitter and a glue stick and I’ll make you a fabulous rainbow, but beyond that, I had nothing. I longed to express myself creatively but couldn't, until I reached the end of auto mode. This photo below was taken on the London underground. I wanted to convey the rush of the city so I popped my camera on the escalator and chose a slow shutter speed.

f5      0"5      ISO: 100

I hope I've helped convince you to make the leap from auto to manual mode. Over the next few weeks, I'll be posting step by step tutorials to help you on your way. Stick with it, this is where things get fun!

Do you shoot in manual mode already? Do you have anything to add as to why it's so great? Post in the comments below:

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