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#5: Don’t Worry About Manual Mode

Good news: you can be a great photographer, and make amazing images, and live a long, happy life all without ever having to learn to shoot in manual mode. I know a lot of new photographers worry that the reason their photos don’t look like they want them to is because they’re not shooting in manual mode. But, trust me, manual mode isn’t some magical mode that transforms everyday photos into gallery pieces—it’s just another shooting mode on your camera like the rest. And, ultimately, what makes magical photos is, say it with me, “what you aim your camera at and how you aim it.” It’s not which mode you shoot in. I think the reason some of us get sucked into thinking it’s the magical unicorn of modes is that you’ll sometimes read in an online forum some photographer bragging that he “only shoots in manual mode” (like he’s earned some special honor). But, again, trust me, it’s just another exposure mode on your camera, so you can scratch that one off your worry list. Now, I don’t want you to think that I’m saying you shouldn’t learn manual mode, or that manual mode is bad (I actually recommend it for shooting in a photo studio with strobes), but I don’t want you to think it’s this big hill that one day you’re going to have to climb to get to photography nirvana. In the list of things we have to worry about in our quest to become better photographers, you can move this one way, way down your list.

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