How do I make the photo brighter in manual mode? When I prepare to take a photo in manual mode it is very hard to see the subject after I take the photo it is all black. Indoor and outdoor


Manual mode is just that - entirely manual. In any other mode, the camera is doing something to try and get a proper exposure. In Manual, the camera leaves everything up to you, but it gives you a light meter to help you.

The light meter shows up in the viewfinder. It looks a bit like -.....|.....+ with a little tick underneath. If the tick is to the left of the centre bar, the shot will be underexposed (darker). If the tick is to the right, it will be overexposed (brighter). A correct exposure (though not necessarily creatively 'right' for what you want to do) is right in the middle.

You can adjust three things to vary exposure:

  • Aperture - this is the 'f number'. A lower f number means the aperture is wider, which lets more light in to hit the sensor.

  • Shutter speed - this is usually represented by a fraction of a second, like 1/60 or 1/200. The longer the shutter is open for, the more light hits the sensor.

  • ISO - this is the sensitivity of the sensor. The more sensitive the sensor, the brighter the shot (assuming you don't compensate by adjusting the other two parameters)

Each of these has trade offs. Opening the aperture means you will have a shallower depth of field (area of focus). Slower shutter speeds mean anything moving will blur. Higher ISOs add noise (graininess) to the shot. So you have to make a decision based on these factors.

As you adjust any of these, note the effect on the tick on the light meter. If your meter is showing underexposure and you open up the aperture, you will see the tick move towards the centre of the meter, and so on.


There are several things you could do to fix this. In no particular order:

  1. Lower your shutter speed. This leaves the shutter open longer, allowing more light to enter. (E.G. go from 1/20 to 1/2)

  2. Open your aperture farther. This allows more light to enter by essentially increasing the opening in the lens. (E.G. f/2.8 to f/1.8)

  3. Increase your ISO. Change your ISO to a higher number. This will add some noise to your photo but as long as you aren't at super high ISO, you shouldn't notice it.

Hope this helps!

  • When in manual mode, it's going to take a few trial and error shots to figure the correct settings since the camera isn't automatically adjusting the shutter or the aperture for you as it would in AV, TV or some other AUTO mode. – codedude Jun 25 '14 at 19:56

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