May 13, 2011

#19 – Put it all together – ISO, shutter speed and aperture.

Here’s the scene.

You’re out at a restaurant for a birthday party and you want to grab a group shot of all your friends.

You flip your camera settings to Auto and stab at your shutter button. The flash fires and you’re done. You peek at the back of your screen and you see…what on earth is that? Everybody looks like they’ve been lit by the power of 15 suns – while the background is entirely black.

That photo nightmare is over.

We’ve been talking over the past few weeks about ways to get more light into your camera without turning on the flash. We covered ISO, shutter speed and aperture. Each of these can do a few nifty photo tricks (and we’ll cover those off in more detail in future posts). For now, all you need to know is this – if your photo is too dark, you now have three super tools you can use to get more light into your camera.

And here’s the best part – you can use all three at the same time. Change the ISO and there’s still not enough light? Dial down the shutter speed. Still need more? Try adjusting your aperture. You have total control and because of that your next birthday pic can look a whole lot better.

I’m attaching this cheat sheet below to help you get started. Print it out and stuff it into your camera bag. Then take a couple of weeks and try using all three until you’re comfortable. Trust me, you won’t need the cheat sheet for long – it’s just that easy.

The Frame One “I Need More Light” Cheat Sheet…

ISO (How sensitive the camera is to light).
Turn it up – 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600
Turn It down – 1600, 800, 400, 200, 100
…for more light
…for less light
 Warning: Higher ISO makes photos more grainy.

Shutter speed (How long the shutter is open).
Make it longer – 1/250, 1/125, 1/60, 1/30, 1/20
Make it shorter – 1/20, 1/30, 1/60, 1/125, 1/250
…for more light
…for less light
Warning: Longer shutter speeds blur anything in motion – stick to 1/60 for an average person standing still.

Aperture (How big the hole is)
Make it bigger – 11, 8, 5.6, 4, 2.8
Make it smaller – 2.8, 4, 5.6, 8, 11
…for more light
…for less light
Warning: A bigger aperture throws the background out of focus.

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