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We are on our way to shooting on that "M" setting on your camera dial.

Now that we know what APERTURE, SHUTTER SPEED, and ISO are, it's time to put them into action. (However, if you skipped on over here and all you know if that they start with the letters 'A', 'S', and it spells 'I-S-O'...I suggest you click on over to those other pages for a quick review.)

To get started, you need your camera.  It helps to have it while you read this, otherwise, it'll probably go over your head. (Like it did for me when I was learning it for the first time)

After setting your camera dial to "M," look inside the viewfinder.  You should see this meter looking thing.  This is what we call a "light meter."


Depending on the brand of your camera, one side of the meter means dark (underexposed) and the other side means bright (overexposed).  The middle of your meter means that the light is "correct." 

Nikon and Canon light meters are the exact opposite. Canon light meters are logically what you would think.  Left to Right..Dark to Bright.  Nikon is the opposite, Left to Right..Bright to dark. Anyway.

Your goal is to adjust your settings to make your light meter stop on the center dash.  We do this by adjusting our settings one at a time.

If you look through your viewfinder, move your camera around the room.  What do you notice when you go over light areas versus dark areas? 

That's right, the meter jumps all over the place.  

Now, find a subject you want to photograph (try something with a lot of light first).  First, set you aperture to, let's say f/2.8. 

Now start moving the dial to set the shutter speed higher or faster. If the meter isn't close to the center and your shutter speed is dropping too slow, that's when we'll adjust the ISO.

Depending on your camera, you'll have to hunt down where you can set the ISO.  Some are easily accessible, while some you have to find a deep dark menu somewhere.  Once you find it, bump it up however many stops so your meter is exposed correctly.  

Starting out, try and set your ISO to AUTO.  That way you only have to worry about figuring out your APERTURE and SHUTTER SPEED.  Once you are comfortable with those, start tackling your ISO as well. 

Thanksgiving, 2014

f/2.8, 1/125 sec, ISO 1250 | Shot with a Nikon D610

Sundaze, 2014

f/2.8, 1/25 sec, ISO 2500 | Shot with a Nikon D610

North Bark Dog Park, 2016

f/2.8, 1/640 sec, ISO 100 | Shot with a Nikon D610

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