London & Lagos Based Fashion, Commercial & Advertising Photographer » News and tips for creatives, models and anyone interested in Photography, art, travel or anything creative.

So we’ve looked at ISO and Aperture and now we’ll take a look at the last component of shooting in manual mode.

Shutter speed is probably the simplest of the 3 to grasp. It is simply how fast the lens opens and closes.  Think of it as how fast you blink your eye. It is also measured in numbers. Displayed on your camera as 15, 30, 60, etc.


I want you to get your camera and lets see how the 3 work together.


Let’s start by setting your ISO to 100 or 200. Whatever the lowest is on your camera.

Next let’s set the shutter speed to 1/60 seconds. It is probably displayed as 60 on your camera. (60 is a good guide speed while hand holding with good technique. Find what your limitations are over time.)

Finally lets set the aperture at f5.6.

Take a picture.

Now keep your ISO and shutter speed the same and change your aperture to f16.

Take a picture. See the difference?

Take your aperture back to 5.6 and set your shutter speed to 1/1000.

Now take another picture. See any difference? Great.


The early stages of shooting on manual mode can be frustrating but if you stick with it and continue to practice, I promise you will become a better photographer. But to get there you have to get out there and actually take lots of pictures.


It’s been a lot to take but it should get easier from here on. Please leave comments to let me know what you think. Have a lovely picture-taking weekend. I know I will. I’m having a big fashion shoot on Saturday and I’m really excited!!

Here’s a picture I could never have created without understanding how ISO, Aperture and Shutter speed relate with each other.


Shot at ISO 100, f 9.0 and 1/125. For lighting I used 2 flash heads balanced with the natural light.

The Final Punch

Fight Club - This was a personal project to try out some techniques and just have fun.


To view the other parts in the series click on the links below:

Part 1  |  Part 2  |  Part 3

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Welcome back. I hope you had a great weekend and got to dust off your cameras because we’re getting into the actual working of the SLR/DSLR this week.
If I haven’t mentioned this yet forgive me… you can only get better by practising. Read and then go practise what we’ve talked about.

Let’s go.

1) The ISO is basically the cameras sensitivity to light. The brighter it is, the lower you want your ISO to be (100 or 200) and the darker it is the higher you want it to be. (800 – 3000)


2) Always try to shoot with the lowest possible ISO number as image noise increases as the ISO number increases. (If you’re going for the grainy look. Then feel free to raise the ISO)


Next is the aperture. The aperture is also measured in numbers. Usually from about 1.4 to 32 and the numbers accessible to you will depend on the lens you have.


When a picture is taken, the lens opens up and closes. Think of it as you opening and closing your eye. You can open it up fully or you can open it up partially.

How wide the lens opens is determined by the aperture number, which is known as the f-stop.

For the F-stop, the smaller the number, the larger the lens opens. So f1.8 would be a much larger opening than f8.


I found the diagram below online and thought it would be a good visual to take a look at.  That’s all for today. See you on Thursday for the third and last main part of shooting in manual mode.

Remember to practice, practice, practice.

visual of various aperture numbers

Image from


To view the other parts in the series click on the links below:

Part 1  |  Part 2  |  Part 3

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What’s the manual mode on your camera for?

Photography is not tied to any brand of camera. You can use a Nikon, Canon, Sony, Pentax or whatever you choose. I won’t discuss settings on individual cameras but more on the principles that are the same regardless of camera. So pull out your manual and get to know  your camera body.

Well enough about what I think I’m going to do. Let’s just get on with it…


The scene is perfect in your eyes.  The destination wedding has been stunning as the sun sets in the background and the newly wed couple share the first kiss as man as man and wife. You shoot away with joy only to review the image. And find with much disappointment that your expensive new camera has taken a picture that is too dark or too bright. I’ve been there and you probably have as well.


The camera didn’t fail. It didn’t fail me and it didn’t fail you. It did what you asked it to do which is to take a picture “it” thinks is accurate. What we need to do is tell it exactly what we want it to do and not what “it” thinks we want.


This means shooting in manual mode on your camera.

There are three main things which we’ll cover briefly and then in greater depth in subsequent posts.


They are the ISO, the aperture and the shutter speed.

I want you to take this weekend to know your camera body.
Figure out how to change your ISO, your aperture and shutter speed so we can get busy next week.

Have a lovely weekend. See you Tuesday.


Here’s an image shot on location. Shot using one strobe at ISO 1000, f4.0 and 1/40s.

Fashion Models wearing red and black

Image shot for House of Silk 2011 Campaign


To view the other parts in the series click on the links below:

Part 2  |  Part 3

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I’ve been contemplating the idea of blogging for a while and actually did start but stopped as I was unsure what direction to take. I’ve decided to marry my desire to blog with my love for teaching (if it can be called that) and see if I can come up with some sort of tutorial. Now we need an element of give-and-take here. So holla back with comments, suggestions and frustrations. This is a forum to trash it all out!


I’ll try to make this as logical and linear as possible meaning I’ll try and blog in an order that would make sense to someone with no knowledge of photography. I’ll also try and answer any questions you may have or specific requests for tutorials so please, please, fire away.  For those more familiar with photography, be patient and hang in there. I’ll get to the meatier bits as I go along.

I’ll stop here for now. We’ll pick it up on Thursday morning.

Here’s an image from a fashion shoot. We’ll have you shooting quality images soon. 🙂

Model in Big Net Skirt

Fashion image shot at the AIU London Fashion Graduation show.

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  • March 13, 2012 - 11:13 am

    Earl Ferguson - Hi David

    This is a super idea and thanks for your time.

    I would like to know about balancing natural light and flash.

    many thanks

  • March 13, 2012 - 11:39 am


  • March 14, 2012 - 1:27 pm

    davidotokpa - Thanks for stopping by Marco.

    Thanks Earl, It’s coming soon.

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