If you’ve been shooting in your camera’s fully automatic mode, then there are a number of things you’ll need to be aware of for when you start to take back control of the camera.
When moving away from fully automatic, you might look to use a semi-auto mode like Aperture Priority, or you might give the manual mode a try. It doesn’t really matter which avenue you go down, but it’s definitely important to be able to competently use your camera in full manual before you settle on one mode.
For me, I spent quite a long time shooting in full manual mode until I decided to settle with Aperture Priority as my favourite. I’ve written an article that looks at why I made the move from manual into a semi-automatic mode, and it’s something you’ll find that a lot of photographers in the industry do.
However, when you do switch off your camera’s fully automatic mode, you’re going to find that you are in control of a number of things that were done for you (and probably incorrectly to a degree) by the camera.
1. Think about white balance
Automatic white balance is, in my opinion, rarely going to choose the exact setting that you need. White balance is measured in Kelvin and describes the colour temperature of your image. A high value will see your image have more of a warm, orange tint, whereas a lower value will cause more of a blue shade. The white balance is there to counteract natural colour casts in the light, achieving a neutral white balance so that whites actually look white in your photo. Obviously, you can play around with the white balance for creative effect, but most of the time you’ll want things looking “normal”.
Now, when you stop using automatic white balance (although you can keep shooting with AWB when you’re not in full automatic mode) you’ll need to use the correct preset (or Kelvin value) to suit the surroundings. Luckily, if you’re shooting in the raw file format, you can adjust the white balance during the editing process.