When to use “M-Mode”

During our basic training, we usually recommend “A/Av-Mode”  (aperture priority) for most of the time. It let you control the depth of field and the amount of light entering. However, sometimes we need to determine the aperture and shutter ourselves to shoot some specific effects. That’s where “M-Mode” comes in for some sweet photo effects. 

How to use “M-Mode”

To quickly learn to use the “M-Mode manual mode”, we can follow the steps below (take a night scene as an example):

  1. Set the camera to “M-Mode”
  2. Observe the environment, decide whether the depth of field is important, or the shutter is important.
    If you are shooting a night scene with flowing water, we generally choose a slow shutter of more than 10 seconds in order to shoot silky flowing water. Assuming the shutter is set to 10 “, the aperture will be closed down (false setting is f / 10), and the ISO will be reduced (false setting is ISO200)
  3. Look at the light meter on the camera.
    As a reference for most cameras such as Canon and Nikon, in the M-Mode manual mode, the metering bar used to add or subtract EV on weekdays will automatically move to indicate an exposure reference. We Before shooting, you can fine-tune the aperture, shutter and ISO to move the mark to the middle (that is, 0EV).
    Note: The camera’s built-in light meter will be based on the metering mode you choose, and the entire area will be metered.
  4. After setting the aperture, shutter, and ISO, try taking a picture

    First take a test shot with M-Mode (f / 16 1/50 second ISO200), and found that there is no layer in the overexposure of the sky, the ground is dark due to the large light difference, and the flowing water does not look like silk.

    First take a test shot with M-Mode (f / 16 1/50 second ISO200), and find that the sky is overexposed and there is no layering. Because the light difference between the sky and the ground is large, the ground is dark, and the flowing water is not like silk.

  5. See if the photo matches the exposure in your mind.
    We can use the “reverse / highlight” in the photo to test whether there is overexposure. You can also refer to the histogram, but the histogram can only be used as a reference.
  6. Fine-tune aperture, shutter and ISO for official shooting
Effect during official shooting (f / 14 30 seconds ISO200)

Effect during official shooting (f / 14 30 seconds ISO200)

How to take this picture?

(A) Be patient and wait for the sunset

Because shooting towards the sun, the light difference between the sky and the ground is very large. At this time, we have to wait for the sun to set before shooting, which can reduce the light difference.

(B) Add gradient gray filter (GND)

To further reduce the aberration and reproduce the details of the ground objects, we can use the gradient gray filter (GND).

(C) With ND

In addition to the above gradient gray filter, the author also used a light reduction lens to allow the camera to expose for 30 seconds to make the flowing water smooth, otherwise the photo will be overexposed.

(D) Adjust the white balance

Adjust the white balance to a low K number, which can make the picture cooler. However, the opposite approach can also be used to show the warm colors of the sunset. It depends on personal preference.

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Author: Alex Tam