You can't really separate composition and exposure since depth of field is almost always a consideration when composing a shot..
I strongly recommend that you start off by shooting everything in manual exposure mode, not because you will get better pictures that way, but because it will force you to think carefully about every shot that you take.Chris R..
I agree. Shoot manual aperture and shutter speeds, and focus manually. This will teach you how and why you are getting correctly exposed shots. Framing experience will result naturally as you shoot more. And do that, shoot loads and learn by experience. It costs nothing on digital.jules.
You can't really separate composition and exposure since depth offield is almost always a consideration when composing a shot..
I strongly recommend that you start off by shooting everything inmanual exposure mode, not because you will get better pictures thatway, but because it will force you to think carefully about everyshot that you take.Chris R.
Why can't you blow bubbles with chewing gum?..
Obviously, this is a generalization for which there are exceptions, but many of us shoot outdoors using Av and indoors using M. Like another poster said, you can't separate exposure and composition. I frequently quickly compose, then expose, then refine the composition, then expose again..
You'll be working on composition with every shot, forever..
I'm going to vote for "assisted" as opposed to manual as a strating point. If you go with fully manual then you can end up with enough variables being juggled that it's hard to figure out which one is doing what to your shots..
I'll suggest that you start out using the aperture priority mode. Get a good feel for how the aperture affect the depth of field in your images without having to worry about your shots being too badly under/over exposed..
Move on to shutter priority. You'll get a feel for how much motion you can stop - what you can comfortably handhold, etc..
Once you have a solid understanding of the effects of apereture and shutterspeed, then you can go to town in manual..
You'll still need to set aside some time to play with the exposure compensation in the camera. Also, shooting with a flash will be very, very different. No shortage of things to learn ..
Take a photography course or read a lot to find out what makes a good photo. check out onexposure.net and look at the critique forums on rejected photos. onexposure is a judged photo sharing site so only decent stuff gets on. check out kenrockwell.com the 'how-to' section...