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Self Directed Tutorial
Understanding Manual Exposure - Materials Only
This tutorial includes the course materials only for our Understanding Manual Exposure course. This tutorial is for self-directed learning with no instructor, assignment or critique. For the instructor taught version of this course click here.

This course includes two PDF lessons with 26 pages of information and examples and 4 demo videos. This tutorial is for digital camera users with manual exposure mode.

Shooting in Manual gives you complete control over your exposure. DSLR cameras and many advanced point and shoot cameras have a manual exposure mode where you manually set both the shutter speed and aperture. In this exposure mode you, not the camera, are determining the exposure. In manual mode, you are the boss. This is a wonderful skill to have when you want to handle exposure very precisely.

You will learn to use manual exposure for standard exposures and also for tricky exposures like snow scenes. There are times when the camera's metering system does not recommend an ideal exposure for the scene. You can lock in the exposure you want by shooting in manual.

Shooting in manual for awhile will help you understand exposure and make you a better photographer. You'll also learn which aperture and shutter speed settings to choose and to understand the results of your choices. When you go back to shooting in aperture and shutter priority things will seem much more predicatable and easy to control.


  • Exactly how to set your exposure
  • Understanding the camera's TTL metering system
  • How metering modes influence exposure
  • Interpreting the histogram
  • Standard exposures
  • Effects of shutter speed on exposure
  • Effects of aperture on exposure


  • Tricky exposures like snow and night scenes
  • How white balance affects exposure
  • How to set a custom white balance
  • Getting the best possible exposure in low light with high ISOs

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