Shooting in Manual – Nikon D3100

Shooting in Manual – Nikon D3100

One of my goals for YEARS now has been to learn how to shoot in manual mode with my Nikon D3100. I previously had a point and shoot capable of shooting in manual and was learning with it until it broke. Since then, I have not made any big attempts at shooting in manual mode with my Nikon D3100. For whatever reason, manipulating the point and shoot manual settings was MUCH easier than the Nikon D3100. It has taken me years just to figure out how to change the ISO quickly. And now that I have figured it out, I am kicking myself! All it took was one well written article online that I really understood and then I got it.

I’ve spent the last few days with my camera getting familiar with the settings and learning how to shoot in manual. I am still not comfortable quickly recognizing which settings I need to be using as is evidenced in my pictures, but I have confidence that this is the year that I finally get somewhere!

 Shooting in Manual Mode - Nikon D3100 by Life as a Convert

As a blogger this is fantastic because it sometimes takes me 10+ minutes trying to get ONE shot on auto mode because of where the camera chooses to focus or depth of field or poor lighting or whatever. Now, I will actually have a little bit of say in how my shots turn out.

Having said all that – I wanted to share my first pictures from shooting in manual with you guys and then continue sharing as I go along. Hopefully we will all be able to see my progress. These pictures show 2 of my children, Aybra and Losh. The pictures of Aybra were all taken at the park on the same day and around the same time, but as you can see, she was on the move. This gave me great practice with switching the settings to accommodate the different light. I find it very awkward to change my aperture and am getting it mixed up with the buttons for ISO. I assume youtube may have some tutorials that would help me but have not ventured there yet.

These are all straight out of the camera. – Learning how to edit will be the next step.

My first attempts shooting in manual with a Nikon D3100Aybra and her teddy.

My first attempts shooting in manual with a Nikon D3100Aybra swinging.

My first attempts shooting in manual with a Nikon D3100 Swinging…

My first attempts shooting in manual with a Nikon D3100 Ignoring me and still swinging..

My first attempts shooting in manual with a Nikon D3100Crossing a bridge. I had trouble keeping up with settings here.

My first attempts shooting in manual with a Nikon D3100Losh inside the house. Highest ISO possible. I never would have attempted this in manual before.

My first attempts shooting in manual with a Nikon D3100Losh outside. Lower ISO and a lot less grain.

Feel free to share any tips or tricks you may have for me. I understand the general concept of the different settings and am aware of the rule of thirds, but feel like I can’t always pull it off and do not have a creative eye when it comes to setting up shots. I am not trying to make this a business, but have always longed to take “pretty pictures”.

Do have shoot in manual mode?

Did you find it easy to learn? 

52 thoughts on “Shooting in Manual – Nikon D3100

  1. Robin Masshole Mommy

    I use a point & shoot, so there aren’t different modes to learn. It sounds kind of complicated to me.

  2. AnnMarie Brown

    Your subjects are just adorable and you are so much braver than I am. I have yet to try to shot in manual but you are inspiring me for sure. Going to read about how to shot in manual mode.

    1. LifeAsAConvert Post author

      It has been a great investment! I had a few different point and shoot cameras with manual capabilities, but nothing beats the DSLR I have now. Mine is the basic entry level camera, but I wanted to get familiar with a DSLR before buying an even “fancier” one.

  3. Tiffany

    I really need to learn how to use my camera… I have a Nixon dslr 3100 I believe but I don’t even have a single idea how to start with it :(

    1. LifeAsAConvert Post author

      Practicing definitely helps. There are a lot of “cheat sheets” that all briefly explain what each setting does. Those will help you get familiar with each setting.

  4. Melisa

    I love Nanak shooting. It gives you so much better control of how your photos turn out. You have very adorable subjects in your photos!

  5. Elizabeth O.

    It’s always so exciting to have a new camera to play with. I am very interested in photography and I love learning about new cameras as well.

    1. LifeAsAConvert Post author

      New cameras are fun. I am wanting a new one (just a vlogging camera) but I don’t want to spend the money on any new camera until I learn how to use the ones I have now. Sadly, I’ve had my DSLR for close to 4 years and just now figuring it out.

  6. Sage

    I mostly shoot in manual mode, unless the light is constantly changing, then I go for shutter priority or aperture priority, depending on the situation. Once you learn the principles of light metering and photography, I think manual mode is pretty easy to figure out.

    1. LifeAsAConvert Post author

      When I was having a lot of difficulty figuring out manual mode, I thought it may be easier to start in shutter priority or aperture priority, but those pics were even worse! My biggest struggle was changing ISO. For some reason I thought I was changing it, but kept changing the shutter speed.

  7. Liz Mays

    I’ve just begun working on this myself. I have no sort of flow to it at all yet. It’s totally awkward, but I’ll get there and so will you! Honestly, I think you did pretty great!

  8. Pam

    I have been shooting in manual mode more often and I love how the photos have been turni out. It really makes a difference in your photography once you figure out how to go beyond auto!

  9. Amanda Love

    I have a Canon 7D and I still only shoot in auto. I have yet to figure out the manual mode but I know as soon as I do I’ll be able to take awesome photos.

  10. Janell Poulette

    We have a Canon T5i and I have so much to learn! Luckily my husband is a pro and can help me when I need it.

  11. CourtneyLynne

    Hehe I have a canon, but since I just got it a few months ago I’m a manual mode kinda gal too lol… Big cameras are a lot to learn that’s for sure!

  12. Mhaan A.

    I remember years back when I started learning photography using my Nikon d40. Photography is really a fun activity and boosts your creative side. Your models are adorable!

  13. Jeanine

    I have a nikon that I just love and adore. But it’s nothing fancy. I would love to get more into photography, I just love it. I’d have so much to learn though!

  14. Marielle Altenor

    Beautiful photos. I’m still not good with shooting in manual. I wish I had a Nikon. I have a Fujji films that’s a bit older and I’m always shooting in auto mode.

  15. Michelle Blackwood

    I encourage you to learn to shoot in manual, you will love the control it gives you!

  16. Kandi

    Love it! I shoot in manual mood all the time. It really does make a difference in your photos. The other thing I am working on is shooting in raw vs jpeg. I keep hearing raw is better because when you upload jpegs it reconfigures the image or something like that (still learning lol).

  17. Yona Williams

    I’m right behind you…and will be learning the auto and manual in a crash course from my brother. He gave me his old Nikon, so I finally graduate from the point and shoot digital now.

  18. Rosey

    It’s so fun to learn new ways to get quailty pictures. My oldest son is so good at it. Me… eh, I’m learning. ;) I Love your pics here, happy to know what kind of camera too, so I can reference that info for when I’m shopping someday for a new camera.

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  20. Psychic Nest

    I have started recently to learn how to take better photos. It is all about the light and the angle. There is really so much to learn but I love photography!


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