Advanced Media: How Do I Use ISO and Shutter Speed?
Photography is without a doubt a very intriguing and enjoyable activity. For some, it is a fun hobby, but for others, it is their livelihood. Regardless of photography’s purpose in a person’s life, there comes a time when the photographer advances their practice and explores the world of ISO and shutter speed. Let’s take a short crash-course on ISO and shutter speed usage.
ISO is an acronym that stands for International Standards Organization, or more plainly, a camera lens sensitivity to light. People often wonder what ISO setting they need to use, and the answer is “it depends”. If an individual is shooting an outdoor scene on a sunny day, there is obviously a lot of natural light which would require the camera’s ISO setting to be lower since the lens will not need to let as much light into the shot. If an individual is shooting in a darker environment such as indoors with low-light, the ISO setting would need to be higher allowing more light to penetrate the lens. So where does shutter speed come in?
Shutter speed is how fast or slow the camera’s shutter closes and opens when a photo is taken. Shutter speeds are typically measured in fractions of seconds which indicates how long the lens will be exposed to the image (and light) as a photo is taken. If a photograph requires more light, the photographer will want to use a slower shutter speed. For a photograph that requires less light in the exposure, the shutter speed will need to be faster. So how do you know how much light you need? If someone is photographing something in motion such as a car driving by, they will need to use a higher shutter speed so as to capture the car (or whatever the moving object may be) without blurring it. If there is a desire to “slow down” a moving object such as a waterfall (to give it a foggy, flowing appearance) a slower shutter speed will be what is needed.
ISO and shutter speeds can be tricky to maneuver at times, but with the education and experience, it is possible to master these settings and more, creating beautiful photos to last.
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