Since getting my feet wet with manual camera settings, I’ve honed-in on some tried-and-true methods for making the most of my new-found manual mania.
1) 5d Mark II Works for Me (Unless It Doesn’t): Perfect as it is, the 5d Mark II shutter drags across the capture sensor when you set the shutter speed at 1/180th of a second and faster–resulting in only a partially lit frame. Conversely, the 1DS series offers an iris-leaf shutter that captures completely lit images at any shutter speed.
2) Sharp Shooter: If you’re a quick shooter, it’s best to invest in a high capacity strobe like a Profoto 1,000 w/s monolight. Not only does it offer the obvious advantage of more power, it also recycles much faster if you don’t have your strobe set on the highest possible power setting.
3) Saucy Strobe: Because a strobe emits all of its light in a single burst, whether the shutter speed is fast or slow doesn’t matter. The amount of light that the capture sensor receives from the strobe remains constant regardless of the camera’s shutter speed. The desired light level from the strobe will still be retained. For instance, when shooting with strobe in a moody environment, drag the shutter to preserve the low-level, environmental ambient light. The strobe will expose your subject and the longer shutter speed with capture the ambient-lit background.