Beginners Guide to MANUAL Mode for Travel & Nature Photography (VIDEO)

by John Stapel

You’ve probably heard the silly adage that “If the mode dial on your camera isn’t set to ‘M’ you’re not a real photographer.” While most pros would disagree, there are clearly advantages to choosing camera settings yourself.

Another misconception is that Manual mode is for experts, and too complicated for anyone else. As you’ll see in the explainer below, nothing could be further from the truth. Danish photographer Mads Peter Iversen, provides a very helpful checklist in his complete guide to shooting outdoors in full manual, and he really demystifies the technique.

In this behind-the-the scenes episode from a beautiful spot in Northern Denmark, Iversen says his goal is “to make you less nervous about photographing in Manual mode with any camera you own.” And he walks you through the process from beginning to end.

Manual mode can be particularly helpful when shooting under difficult lighting conditions, like the dramatic weather Iversen encountered on this particularly outing. While your camera may be fooled in similar situations when using an automatic exposure mode, you can’t be tricked when shooting in manual if you do it right.

Iversen quickly covers all the basics, so you may want to jot down a few notes. He offers a straightforward discussion of various focusing modes and explains his personal preference for different types of subjects. While describing the power of shooting in manual, he also reviews metering modes and the important difference between Aperture Priority and choosing exposure settings yourself.

You’ll also see learn the value of selecting ISO and other important settings manually, and pick up a helpful focus-stacking trick along the way. It’s also interesting how all these considerations are interrelated, and can be affected by how you compose a scene.

You can find more helpful on Iversen’s YouTube channel and in the tutorial we posted recently from another pro, with five great tips for shooting great landscape images with a telephoto lens.