Manual Adjustment Critical for Professional Photography

One of the most important aspects of having complete and total creative control over the photos that you take in professional photography is being able to make adjustments on your camera in manual mode. When your camera is in any other mode, it will make adjustments for you based on the environment around you. The problem is, that sometimes the environment around you and the environment directly on the subject may be two totally different environments. In professional photography, you will want to be in control, not your camera.

When in automatic mode, your camera may make adjustments based on the environment around you instead of the environment on your subject. A good example of this in professional photography is when you are outdoors and it is a bright sunny day. Your professional photography subject is under a tree that provides a good amount of shade that covers your subject completely. Beyond the shade though, the background may be really bright, and all around the shade the same thing. Your camera may make an adjustment that compensates for the excellent lighting being provided by the sun everywhere around all the shading. In which case, when you snap the photo, it may come out too dark. The subject will be very dim and shadowy, however the background and foreground outside of the shade will be exposed properly.

There are tricks to help you adjust the metering on the camera in professional photography, however the best and most effective way to compensate for this is to make manual adjustments on your own and not have to rely on the camera to make decisions for you. In this situation, the camera may have chosen an aperture that is too high, or a shutter speed that was too high or an ISO that was too low. When you make manual adjustments, you can adjust everything exactly the way you want it every single time. In this scenario regarding professional photography, I would expose the photo for the subject however, allowing the subject to be only slightly darker than I actually intend. This allows me to preserve some of the light ranges being captured in the foreground and background. This will be really important when it comes time for me to perform post process edits after the shoot in professional photography.

RAW Shooting in Professional Photography

In professional photography, when shooting with any camera capable of manual adjustments, it is always a good idea to shoot in RAW. When you shoot in RAW, the camera captures a wide range of raw light data as well as temperature data for the color casting. When shooting in JPG format, the camera automatically infuses all this information into a finalized JPG image that has limited editing capability. While the image is in RAW format, there are many drastic adjustments that can be made to both exposure and temperature. This will allow us to make a moderate increase to the exposure of the subject and a moderate decrease to the exposure of the background and foreground. In the end, because we made manual adjustments and shot in RAW, we have the capability of ending up with a final photograph that appears to be perfectly exposed all the way around for some awesome professional photography.

In professional photography, a lot of photographers will argue that they want to get the shot right in the camera and avoid post process editing as much as possible. This is absolutely true. This is exactly what was done in this example. Sometimes in professional photography you don’t have a choice what your environment is, especially when you are shooting events such as weddings. There are times in professional photography when you simply have to deal with the environment you are given. Under perfect conditions, of course we would have chosen a different location and never needed to worry about making any post process edits. This is why it is important to know your camera and how to make manual adjustments on the fly. When you run into situations in professional photography that are outside of your control, you can still make necessary adjustments on your camera to help compensate and still provide a professional product in the end.

The topic of this article is the importance of being able to make manual adjustments in professional photography. Another alternative solution to natural lighting adjustments would have been to add a flash or bring in artificial lighting of some kind. Sometimes, its quicker, easier and good enough to simply use natural lighting and manual adjustments. To learn more about how to use your camera in manual mode check out one of our articles regarding manual adjustments in professional photography.


Professional Photography Manual Adjustment Tutorials