Category Archives: ISO

30 Days of Photography Tips… Day 19

DAY #19!

TIP #19: When taking pictures inside, open the shades or turn on the lights, let the light in.

Last night my boys were wrestling with their daddy. It was about 7:30pm. It was dark (with no more daylight savings and all) and we were inside the house. So I turned on the lamp that was next to the chair I was sitting in to add to the light in the living room. Then I moved my ISO up higher and I started shooting away. Here are the results and the manual settings:

ISO 2500, aperture F 1.8, shutter 1/125, lens 50mm 1.2

During the day I would encourage you to open the curtains or the blinds. Allow that light to come in. I usually photography newborn babies in front of a beautiful window with the blinds pulled up. Natural light is a lovely and wonderful friend in the world of photography. This image below was captured with natural light from a window. I pulled the blinds up, pushed my ISO a little higher and started shooting.

My manual settings were:
ISO 800, aperture F 2.8, shutter 1/160, lens 50mm 1.2

30 Days of Photography Tips… Day 1

I’m so excited! I’m about to start a new short adventure with you. I’m ready to start 30 days of Photography Tips! The month of November has 30 days. And I will be sharing 30 tips during this month. So I hope you’re ready to learn, practice, play and get better with your camera. Ready? Here we go….

DAY #1!

TIP #1: When setting up your manual camera settings, set your ISO first.

ISO used to be the speed of film (in film days) and now it’s essentially the same thing on our digital cameras. It’s the ISO equivalent, or how sensitive your camera’s sensor is to the available light.

The same is still true now but it is much easier with our digital cameras. We can now select the ISO on our digital camera and change it as our lighting changes rather than waiting until we use up an entire roll of film. Most cameras have an ISO range of 100 to 1600 or 3200. Some professional cameras go even higher.

The higher the number of your ISO the more your camera will absorb the light. So you will want to raise the ISO to a higher number in low light situations. But whenever possible you want to shoot with the lowest ISO number that you can. The reason is because as the number of your ISO goes higher, your images will have more “noise” (or grainy texture) to them. So a lower ISO creates a clearer, cleaner image.

When I set my ISO I look around at the available light and set it. I usually don’t change my ISO again unless the lighting changes (sun sets, move to a different location, move from shade to sun, etc). So when you set your ISO first, you get to check that off your list and then move on to just dealing with aperture and shutter speed.

Here are some general settings or starting points for your ISO:

  • outdoor in the bright sun – ISO 100
  • outdoor in the shade – ISO 200 or 400
  • indoor near a window – ISO 800
  • indoor when it’s not real bright – ISO 1600 or higher
This image below was shot using an ISO of 250. I was in the shade of some large trees in the late morning.

inside pictures and ISO

I took a few quick shots of my little boys in the bathtub yesterday early evening. When you’re shooting indoors without a flash then you need to raise your ISO. Your ISO used to be the speed of film (in film days) and now it’s essentially the same thing on our digital cameras. It’s the ISO equivalent, or how sensitive your camera’s sensor is to the available light. The higher the number of your ISO the more your camera will absorb the light. So when your shooting indoors in the evening you need to raise your ISO up to a higher/bigger number.

The ISO on this shot below was 1600. That way my camera can take a picture in a lower light situation and it will still look like the image is bright enough.
(ISO 1600, F 2.5, shutter 1/125, 50mm lens)

Here are some general settings or starting points for your ISO:

  • outdoor in the bright sun – ISO 100
  • outdoor in the shade – ISO 200 or 400
  • indoor near a window – ISO 800
  • indoor when it’s not real bright – ISO 1600 or higher

what is ISO? what are some ISO settings?

ISO with digital cameras vs. our old film cameras:

Back when I had a 35mm film camera I had to decide which speed of film I wanted to purchase and shoot with. My common choices were film with an ISO of 100, 200, 400, and 800. ISO used to be ths speed of film (in film days) and now it’s essentially the same thing on our digital cameras. It’s the ISO equivalent, or how sensitive your camera’s sensor is to the available light.

Here are some examples of some of the ISO settings I would choose given different general situations. I would choose an ISO setting of 100 on a bright sunny day because it’s already bright and I don’t need any more light in my camera. I might choose an ISO setting of 200 or 400 when I’m in quite a bit of shade or on a cloudy day because I need a little more light. During the day, inside the house but near a window I might choose ISO 600 or 800 because it’s a bit darker but there’s still some available light. But last night in the evening, I put my ISO up really high because it was dark outside and I was inside my living room. I set it to 4000. In summary, refer to the little cheat sheet bullets below (they’re just starting places, ISO varies camera to camera):

  • bright sunny day = ISO 100
  • full shade or cloudy day = ISO 200 or 400
  • inside the house but near a window = ISO 600 or 800
  • inside the house in the evening no outside light = ISO 1200 and up

This picture below was shot in my living room under regular tungsten (lightbulb) light in the late evening, right before my boys’ bedtime. I did not use a flash. But my ISO was up high at 4000 in order to allow my camera to absorb more light. Higher ISO settings do allow the camera to absorb more light, but they can also create quite a bit of noise or grain in your image (the speckled dotted texture you see sometimes in a picture). But fortunately the professional grade cameras are pretty fabulous with high ISO settings, that’s part of what you pay for with a higher quality camera body. This picture was shot with my Canon 5D Mark II. It does a great job with high ISO. To me, it’s still pretty clear and great. One of the many reasons I love my camera body. :)

My manual settings:

ISO – 4000
shutter – 1/100 second
aperture – F 2.8