You’ve just bought a fancy camera and decide to take it for a spin. Flicked it on auto, taken a shot, but disappointed with the results.
I hear you, where is all that nice soft light, bokeh blur background. Your shots look nothing like you see on Instagram right. Auto is not all that it’s cracked up to be. If you want to use the full power of that lovely camera and lens you got to go manual.
You’re worried, I get it, you think it’s difficult to learn and without a solid understanding of ISO, Shutter Speed and Aperture how will you ever take that awesome picture. You know the one to share on the gram, FB, and that beautiful website.
Let’s get to know the “Exposure Triangle“ that’s right, the Three Kings or Queens of Photography. Knowing how to adjust the setting of the camera when needed, helps to get the best out of your camera and pushes you and it to its limits helping you to take great photographs.
Now we can go super tech with this, or I get right to it and give you the basics… I know which one I’d prefer, here a link to an article with all the super technical terms
Let’s start with SHUTTER the basic.
Shutter speed is one point on the exposure triangle, there are three main factors (the other two are aperture and ISO) that affect the quality of your photos. Shutter speed gives you creative control over exposure, allowing your images to be bright or dark, blurry or sharp.
SLOW SHUTTER | FAST SHUTTER
HOW TO SET THE SHUTTER SPEED ON A CAMERA
Setting your shutter speed manually allows more creative flexibility with your photography. Most digital cameras allow you to set the shutter speed manually in one of two ways:
Manual Mode: Set via the setting dial on top of the camera or within the settings on the viewfinder, and indicated as “M” on most digital cameras. Manual mode allows control over shutter speed, aperture, and ISO, this is my go-to in most situations.
Shutter priority. Written as “S” or as “TV” on many cameras. In shutter priority mode, you set the shutter speed while the camera automatically adjusts the corresponding aperture and ISO for the surrounding lighting conditions. Great if you want to make sure the subject had no blur motion or if you have shaky hands.
WHAT IS ISO?
ISO is a camera setting that determines your camera’s sensitivity to light. In terms of image quality, a low ISO value (100 iso) means your image will be darker and have less grain (or noise). A high ISO number (1600 iso) means your image will be brighter and have more grain. The letters “ISO” stands for International Organization for Standardization, the group that established the standards for light sensitivity in film. The term stuck, but it uses to be called ASA, but we will save that for another day.
LOW ISO | HIGH ISO
HOW TO DETERMINE THE BEST ISO SETTINGS
Here’s an idea of what the ISO numbers mean for particular lighting conditions.
ISO 100-200: Best for bright daylight. Results in a crisp image with little grain or noise. Your camera’s default ISO base setting will likely be in this range.
ISO 200-400: Slightly less ambient light, such as indoors during the daytime or outdoors in the shade.
ISO 400-800: Indoors, with a flash.
ISO 800-1600: Low light indoors or at night when you can’t use a flash.
ISO 1600-3200: Extreme low-light conditions without a flash. Your image will have a lot of grain or digital noise because of the low light.
HOW TO SET ISO ON A DIGITAL CAMERA
- Your digital camera may default to an “Auto ISO” setting, which means it automatically adjusts your camera sensor’s light sensitivity to your current conditions. This can be useful, for most casual photography in the daytime, however, it’s better to get to know your camera first before we start sticking it back on autos.
- ISO is usual on the top, side or within your menu, have a play with it, take your time, go from inside to outside to see the benefits
APERTURE THE KEY TO CREATIVE CONTROL
Aperture is the key to your creative control in photography, this gives you the flexibility needed to capture that unique shot.
LOW APERTURE, BLUR | HIGH APERTURE, SHARP
WHAT IS APERTURE?
In photography, aperture refers to the hole in the middle of the camera lens which allows light to pass onto a digital camera’s image sensor or the film strip on a film camera.
You control the size of your camera’s aperture two ways. One by twisting the ring around the lens to open the aperture wider or smaller. The other is with the dial on the top of the grip with most DSLR’s. This affects how much light touches the sensor, as well as, how sharp and soft your back will be —a bigger aperture allows more light, creating a softer background and a smaller aperture allows less light, creating a sharper background.
HOW TO ADJUST APERTURE ON YOUR CAMERA
You can manually set the aperture on your digital camera in one of two ways:
On some cameras, you select the aperture on the display screen. On other cameras, you select the aperture on the lens. AV mode is great when you have a bright sunny day and loads of fast-moving clouds. This is where you’ll constantly be going from sunny to cloudy. Stick it on AV and concentre on the creativity, not the weather.
Okay, that’s the nut’s and bolts of crafting great images, the short version is called the exposure triangle: aperture, shutter speed, and ISO. In order to get a properly exposed photo, all three elements must work in harmony. If one part of the exposure triangle changes, the other two need to change as well. Of the three, aperture is the most crucial in controlling how your image will look and my favourite.
Why not download a free copy of my photography cheat sheet, to help you out. Or check out the video on my channel!