Now you've mastered manual mode, what next? How are going to use it? When do you plan to apply them and what next do you plan to learn?
As humans, we continue to learn every day. You need to update your knowledge of photography every day. It is a continuous learning process and you need to master something new every now and then.
Before we continue, let me congratulate you on mastering manual mode. This is going to make your photography much better. Now you don't have to depend on your camera to do all the job for you every time. This is indeed a major step in your photography career.
To compliment what you just learnt, we've listed 5 more things you can learn:
You can never be a professional photographer until you master how to use light efficiently in all your work. You cannot do without light in photography. Indeed, this is one of the first things you should master in your journey as a professional photographer.
Fortunately, you don't need to spend a lot of money to learn how to use light appropriately. The result is that you will always have good photographs when you learn to maximize light available to you in every shot.
You should also learn the effect of direction of light in your photography. For instance, if the light is coming from the front of the subject, you can easily work with it but it can make your image look flat if you don't know how to use it. On the other hand, using back lighting will turn your model into a silhouette unless you know how to use manual mode to expose for the model and not the background.
Furthermore, if the light is coming from the sides, it can add dimensions and shadows. This type of light works well for many type of photography. Once you master direction, the next step is to learn to choose a location with even lighting. This will make a great difference in your photography.
Most amateur photographers think that composition is just about framing what interest you. Big news! it is more than that, you can use what interests you as a starting point but you must go beyond that.
To get the best composition, you will need to apply the Rule of Thirds. This simply means imagining that the photo is divided into a tic-tac-toe grid and then imagine your subject on center of one of those imaginary lines. Use your best judgment when composing your shot. The center composition is best when you are trying to emphasize symmetry in a scene.
But bear in mind that these rules are just a guide. Like I said above, always apply your best judgment, you can try to kneel or shoot from different angles to get the best composition and create a more dynamic image.
3. Manual Flash
Learning to use manual flash is completely different from learning to shoot in manual mode. Here, your goal is to learn how to modulate the amount of light that you are adding to your subject with a flash.
There is absolutely no need for you to avoid using flash altogether; otherwise, you would be missing out on some very useful skill. When you do it right, it is going to boost your photography. One big advantage of manual flash is that it will allow you to turn down the strength of the light that is being thrown on the subject by the flash. Doing this will help you to eliminate those unwanted shadows.
Learning to use manual flash isn't a rocket science, anyone can do it, you just need to change the flash mode and then adjust for the intensity. It is a straightforward process that won't take you a lot of time to learn. You can use some trial and error method to understand which setting is ideal for different scenarios.
4. Focus Techniques
If you are worried that your images are not being as sharp as you would have wanted to them, maybe you need to master focus technique. it is one of essential factors that determine how sharp an image can be. It is another important thing you should learn after you've mastered how to use manual mode.
You need to learn whether to focus just once or continuously for various scenarios. For instance, you can choose to focus continuously for an action scene and then apply a single focus for still life scenes.
Fortunately, the focus area is more flexible than what is in focus. For instance, you can abandon single point autofocus mode and make use of the arrow keys on your camera to choose your preferred focal point.
5. Post Processing
This is an obvious step for every photographer. Even individuals that take selfie with their smartphones still post process their photos. Post processing is an art itself and you must master it if you want your image to look perfect every time.
Post processing is your second chance, it gives you an opportunity to correct mistakes made by your camera. However, you should note that it is always wise to try and get it right with your camera so you can only have little adjustments to make.
There are hundreds of different techniques and styles of post processing. You will need to find the one that suits your need. Ideally, I would recommend that you start with your camera by changing the file type to RAW. The aim of this is that RAW save data as it is, it gives you the entire detail and more flexibility.
When you shoot in RAW, you can use good editing program such as Photoshop or Lightroom to make it better. The idea is to find a good program that works for you and use it to enhance your image.