Well here's a tutorial for you. It's the basics. I tried to explain everything the best I could but I've been working on it for 3.5 hours and I'm getting a little tired so if something doesn't make sense please ask and I'll clarify for ya!TTL Metering
(light meter)What is it?
Only the most important concept in manual shooting!
Your light meter is a visual representation that shows you the exposure (how bright or dark) of your picture.
Here is what your light meter looks like. Outlined in red:
The current exposure is displayed by the little arrow below one of the numbers or dots on the meter.
Most light meters have a range around -3..-2..-1..0..1..2..3
In manual modes you can adjust this if you're taking a picture which contains an overly bright object and a dark object. Manually adjusting it will prevent overly bright objects from becoming blown out or overexposed and dark objects from being crushed or underexposed.
You typically want the little arrow under the exposure range to be under "0" although, as always, there are exceptions.Examples
Here are two pictures. Aperture and ISO were kept the same, I just properly exposed the first picture and then under exposed the second picture by 2 stops (I did this by lowering the shutter speed).ApertureBasic idea
Aperture adjusts how much light enters the lens. This affects your "Depth-of-field" or how much of your picture is in focus. This is mainly what gives your picture depth and interest. It is generally agreed upon that a shallower depth-of-field (small amount in focus) is more interesting than a deep one (everything in focus).What is it?
The aperture is a physical (usually 5 blade) iris that creates a smaller and smaller circle the larger you set the iris.
Here's a picture that depicts an aperture number to what the device inside the lens physically looks like. Fully open (f/1.8 ) and at a smaller aperture (f/22)
The aperture number is inversely related to the size of the hole the aperture creates.
Smaller Number = Larger Hole = More Light = Shallower Depth-of-Field
Here is a picture to depict what certain apertures look like inside the camera.
The aperture number is called an "f-stop". Most cameras go as small as f/22 or f/32 but how large it opens is greatly variable. Most cheaper lenses go as wide as f/3.5 but many more expensive lenses can go to widths such as f/2, f/1.8, or even f/1.2.Examples
Here are some examples and a physical diagram of what's happening with the depth-of-field (yellow). What is highlighted is about what is in sharp focus.Focal LengthBasic idea
Focal length is often called "zoom" by beginners. Most people know what this is so I won't go as in-depth into this. Basically it is how close your lens puts you to your subject.
Smaller numbers (15mm, 18mm, 28mm) are wider and will allow you to fit more into frame.
Larger numbers (55mm, 75mm, 300mm) are narrower and will allow you to fit less into frame.What is it?
Here's an image with focal length overlays. Use this to understand how a smaller number fits more into frame.
There's something else though that makes focal length worth mentioning. It can also be used to squeeze your background and foreground together or spread them apart.Examples
Here's some examples to show what I mean. The red is the area that is in frame.
As you can see, the lens in the foreground stays roughly the same size from 15-85mm. I never moved anything but the location of the camera.
While zoomed out (15mm) you need to be close to your subject and the background will be pushed away and in relation, it will be more out of focus.
While zoomed in (85mm) you will need to be further away from your subject and the background will be squeezed into the foreground and in relation, it will be more infocus. Shutter speedBasic idea
Shutter speed is just as it sounds. It is how long your shutter is open while exposing your picture.What is it?
It can be used to create many cool effects. Typically I use a tripod for anything slower than 1/40. If my lens has some sort of optical stabilizer I can usually go down to about 1/10 handheld. This is just personal preference and will change depending on how steady you can hold your camera. Tripods almost always make for sharper pictures but sometimes they just aren't practical.
Longer shutter speeds = more exposure time = more light + motion blur
Shorter shutter speeds = less exposure time = less light + less or no motion blur
Usually shorter shutter speeds are better but sometimes you want a long one.
When photographing water, a short shutter speed (1/500) will create an effect like this:
When photographing water, a long shutter speed (.5sec) will create an effect like this:
Now you won't just get those effects by changing the shutter speed. You will also have to adjust your aperture or ISO in order for your picture to properly expose.
You can do other cool effects with long shutter speeds such as this:
For this I went into a dark room and used a shutter speed of 30sec.ISOBasic idea
ISO is the same as it is in film. The higher the number, the more sensitive the film or sensor will be to light, however, it will also be more grainy. For this reason you will always want to use the lowest available ISO. In many case you will not be able to use ISO 100 and a higher one will need to be used but almost always try to add light, adjust your aperture, or change your shutter speed before you jack up your ISO.What is it?
Here is a chart that shows the grain difference in ISOs. Note that all cameras handle ISO noise differently. Typically more expensive cameras deal with it better than cheaper ones.
Sometimes you will have to bump up your ISO. For example at night time, you're not going to be taking a picture of a passing car at ISO 100. You will not be able to get an exposure because your shutter speed has to be fast enough so that the car does not give motion blur. For this you will have to bump up your ISO and then you will be able to lower your shutter speed.Examples
Here's some examples to show you how ISO can make your picture brighter, darker, or more grainy. Aperture and shutter speed were kept at f/3.5 and 1/13 for all pictures. The only setting that was changed was the ISO.
(Full Auto) mode
-Up until now you've probably used this the most because your camera was too hard to figure out. Well from now on you're forbidden to use this mode. This mode usually prioritizes fast shutter speeds over low ISO which results in grainy images. If a low ISO is chosen by the camera, it will use the flash. This usually makes for pictures with harsh, ugly shadows, and little to no contrast. Basically amateur photos. Not what we're looking for.
-If you're not comfortable using the other modes quite yet, start off here. You won't learn the technical aspects but your pictures will come out better. It is a somewhat newer feature found on some of Canon's cameras. It gives a graphical interface on the LCD of the camera that lets you choose how blurry you want the background, how bright or dark you want your image, and gives you control over the flash. Your camera more than likely won't have this mode. It is found on Canon models starting with the T1i.
P (Program AE) mode
-This is one step from full auto in that you can set exposure compensation as well as the ISO.
Tv (Shutter Priority) mode
-In this mode you manually set the shutter speed and the camera will automatically adjust the aperture for proper exposure. You can also manually set the ISO as well as the exposure compensation in this mode.
Av (Aperture Priority) mode
-In this mode you manually set the aperture and the camera will automatically adjust the shutter speed for proper exposure. You can also manually set the ISO as well as the exposure compensation in this mode. I highly recommend starting your manual adventures in this mode. I still often use it myself.
B (Bulb) mode
-In this mode the shutter will stay open for as long as you hold down the shutter button. In this mode you can manually adjust the aperture and ISO. There is no light meter or exposure compensation in this mode.
M (Full Manual) mode
-Ah, the scary, scary "M mode". It will take a little while to learn how to use your camera efficiently in full manual mode but once you do, your pictures will come out so much better and you will feel more accomplished with your work. This mode is what it sounds like; fully manual with the only automatic feature being your light meter but even that is just for your reference. You will have to choose your F-stop, set your ISO, and figure out your shutter speed as well as any exposure compensation you plan.Summary
Well that's all I got. If anyone has any questions just post below and I'll do my best to explain as best as I can. I really hope this tutorial was helpful and I hope that you learned something from it. Be sure to post all of your new pictures that you've taken (only in full manual) below