101 Camera basics settings: A Beginner’s Guide to photography

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Below are the three main camera settings that you need to know, shutter speed, aperture and ISO.

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Below are the three main camera settings that you need to know.

Shutter speed: Shutter speed is the length of time when the digital sensor inside the camera is exposed to light or in other words it’s the amount of time the camera’s shutter is open when taking photos. Shutter speed is normally measured in seconds or fractions of seconds. The bigger the denominator e.g. 1/2000 the faster the speed. In most cases you’ll be using 1/60 to 1/500 shutter speeds and anything below this you might need to use a tripod or lenses with image stabilization. Very low shutter speed such as 1/10, 1/20 are best for low light situations. Your shutter speed should equal the lens focal length.

Aperture: Controls the size of the hole or opening that allows light into the camera. Small apertures (i.e. large numbers e.g. f/5.6, f/10, f16 etc.) mean less light while large apertures (i.e. smaller numbers e.g. f/1.4, f/2.8, f/4 etc.) mean more light. The aperture determines how focused the objects around your main subjects will appear this is called depth of field. Large aperture e.g. f/1.8 tend to blur objects in front or behind the main subject while small aperture e.g. f/8 the more in focus objects will be around your main subject. The aperture tends to affect the shutter speed. Using a low f/stop e.g. f/1.4 means more light is entering the lens, hence the shutter doesn’t need to stay open for a long time (faster shutter speed) and vice versa.

ISO: determines how sensitive your camera is to light. The higher the ISO that means more light and more noise into your image and the lower the number the lower the sensitivity, the higher the image and less noise. Shooting using low ISO such as ISO 100 is ideal but in a low light situation this may not be possible and you may have to bump up your ISO to 400 or higher to get faster shutter speeds & capture an image. ISO also has an impact on the aperture and shutter speed.

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