--> Want to improve your photography skills? Photography is really all about the light. How much light gets into your camera to make the image. You’ll hear a lot about the “big three” or the “exposure triangle” when learning to shoot in manual mode. These refer to ISO, aperture, and shutter speed.
I shoot in manual mode exclusively and when I go to set my settings, I
always set my ISO first, so we’ll start there.
ISO is all about the sensitivity level of your camera to
available light. A lower number represents lower sensitivity to
light while higher numbers mean heightened sensitivity. The drawback
in using increased sensitivity is that it produces noisier
images. Simply put, you end up with grainy pictures if you use high ISO. One
advantage of DSLRs is that you can increase the ISO and they handle better in
lower light situations. Of course, we’d all love to have the highest quality
images, but the disadvantage of shooting with higher ISOs and having an
increase in noise/grain can be a small price to pay when capturing memories at
night or at a ballet recital.
The aperture controls light that passes through your camera lens. If
you shoot with the aperture adjusted to the smallest opening, the
smallest amount of light is allowed to enter. For example, if you are
taking a photo in an environment that’s too bright — how should you
adjust your aperture? Simple — adjust to smaller aperture to let in less
light. The aperture’s sizes are measured by f-stops. A higher f-stop means a
smaller aperture hole while a lower f-stop means a bigger aperture
opening. The aperture also controls the
depth of field, a larger opening will give you a narrow plane of focus.
Let’s talk about the shutter speed. The shutter speed measures
the duration of time a camera’s shutter is open
to allow light into the camera sensor. Shutter speeds
are usually measured in fractions of a second. Fast shutter
speeds allow less light into the camera sensor and are used
for high-light and daytime photography
while slow shutter speeds allow more light into the camera
sensor. Obviously, slow shutter speeds are ideal for nighttime
How do you take properly exposed photos? How do you find a balance
between those that are not too dark or too bright, the desired amount
in focus, and fast enough to avoid camera shake. The three – Shutter
Speed, Aperture, and ISO – need to play together well. Each arm of the exposure triangle is important
to creating the best image. What
settings should you use? A good starting
point in an average lighting situation is ISO400, F/4.0, SS 1/160. Start there and take a photo, check it and
then adjust. Too bright? Increase your shutter speed. Too dark?
Increase your ISO.
Here is a cheat sheet: