Wed 02-Jan-13 12:12 AM | edited Wed 02-Jan-13 12:38 AM by Jill Miller
I'm new to photography, too. I was advised to buy the book, "Understanding Exposure" by Bryan Peterson. It explains how to use the manual settings. The 3 things you need for correct exposure are Aperture, Shutter Speed, and ISO.
To use the manual (M) setting, you have to adjust the 3 things mentioned above so that the light meter (a scale seen along the bottom area of your view finder when looking through it) is in the middle or "0" on the scale. Inside in artificial light as you mentioned above would probably need a large aperture (low number), a slow shutter speed, and a higher ISO. Those adjustments allow more light into the camera so the picture isn't dark.
Also, flash would be a great help indoors and also a tripod - especially if you're not going to use the flash.
You can take a picture with the camera in the Auto (A) setting and then look at the picture data. Check the Aperture, Shutter Speed and ISO (and probably whether or not the flash fired) the camera chose and then put the camera in "M" and set it with the same settings. In "M" the flash won't fire on its own - you have to manually turn it on if you want to use it.