Photography can be simple when using a standard point and shoot or even your phone camera. Using a more professional camera, such as a DSLR, can make matters more complex with many confusing settings and tools. But with that complexity comes far greater control over the look of your images
When first starting with a DSLR knowing some photography basics can really help you take some amazing photographs. A key skill is understanding the exposure triangle of shutter, aperture, and ISO and how they work together.
ISO is the sensitivity of your camera’s image sensor to the available light in the environment. The lower the ISO number, the less sensitive the image sensor is to light. You would want to use low ISO setting, such as 100 or 200, on bright sunny days because there is an overabundance of light in the environment. Higher ISO settings such as 1600 or even as high as 6400 are better suited for low light situations. Just be careful using high ISO settings as they can add grain to your image.
TIP: If you have a low light situation, try adjusting your aperture and shutter speed to compensate for the low light and be able to reduce your ISO.
Aperture is the size of the opening in your lens that allows light to pass through and fall onto your image sensor. Aperture settings are called f-stops, and each lens has its own limit on how small or large it can open. One thing to remember is that the lower the aperture or f-stop the larger the opening of the lens and the higher the f-stop the smaller the opening. (See aperture chart below for an example) Aperture also has an effect on your depth of field, for example if you are at f-stop 4.0 (see aperture f4.0 image) the background is very soft and out of focus. In the next image at f-stop 10.0 (see aperture f10 image) the aperture has been closed down and the background is sharper, it is still not fully in focus but as you can see the background image now has more defined detail.
Shutter speed is the amount of time that the shutter stays open and allows light to fall onto your image sensor. Shutter speed is measured in fractions of a second like 1/60th of a second. The higher the number the shorter the amount of time the shutter stays open. For example 1/60th of a second is longer than 1/500th of a second. Your camera will have different settings for high and low shutter speeds. Shutter speeds directly affect motion within your frame with faster shutters (higher numbers) freezing the motion. In the images below you can see at 1/125th of a second the fan blades are a blur of motion in the frame. In the second image at 1/800th of a second the fan blades are almost frozen in space/time.
TIP: As you get into high shutter speeds, it is fractions of a second that your image sensor is capturing light, so you must compensate with higher ISO and/or lower apertures. High shutter speeds work best in brightly lit situations such as outdoors or working with powerful studio lights.
The exposure triangle is interactive meaning you can add or subtract from aperture, ISO, or shutter speeds to capture the images you desire. As with any other art, practice and experimentation can yield amazing results. It’s time to get those cameras out and start experimenting, create a photo journal of your summer and capture memories that will last a lifetime. Studio 300 has more resources (and programs) that you can use to improve your photography skills. And don’t forget to share your amazing results with us!