I So Need More Shoes! (A Lesson on ISO!)

Shoes are a very important part of a girls life, just like light is important to your camera. It seems that the outfit just isn’t right without it and you just can’t have enough! ISO stand for I SO need more shoes…or light!

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ISO.

How much light do you have on board?

The next three things you need to know involves a balancing act: ISO, F Stop and Shutter Speed. You are a mom, you are going to be great at this! Getting a well exposed photo is a combination of these three things. 

But first………Drum roll please………

You will need to move to the M setting on your camera!! You can do it!        Give me an M!! Give me an M!

And as you practice, it will get easier and easier! Just do it!

…M Button M Button M Button!

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Understanding ISO

Instead of film, digital cameras have digital sensors. The ISO setting represents your camera’s ability to collect light on the digital sensor. You already know that taking good photos is all about the light, well, ISO is about gathering light so your camera can use it.

If there is not much light available, it has to work harder to find what little light is there, you will need to set the ISO high. If there is a lot of light, it doesn’t have to work as hard so you will set the value low.  (ISO is a fraction so I am talking about a high or low bottom number on the fraction).

Really good cameras have larger digital sensors that can collect a lot of available light when light is hard to come by allowing them to perform better in low light situations. Point and shoot cameras have small digital sensors and can not collect as much light so they don’t perform as well in low light.

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You will set your ISO according to the available light. If you have a pretty sunny day outside, set your ISO on 100 so your camera will use just a little bit of all that bright light. If you are reaching for your sun glasses, that is a good indicator that the ISO will need to be low.

If you are inside, with little or no natural light, it may need to be as high as your camera can go, 1600 or higher so your camera will find as much light as it can. You are telling your camera, “Hey, there is not much light here so you are going to have to help me out and find as much as you can.” The rule is that you don’t want your ISO to be higher than it needs to be as there is a trade off: the higher ISO may result in a messy photo with more grain or noise. So, determine how much light you have on your subject and then set the ISO.

Check your camera manual, or Google your camera model, to see how high your ISO can actually go on your SLR, some cameras can actually go higher than the value listed on the menu or dial.

Summary for ISO: When you are in great light,  move this to a low number; when you are in bad light choose a high number. Try to keep the ISO as low as possible as increasing the ISO may lower the quality of the photo. You need just enough light, not too much not too little.

You can’t see without light and you can’t create a good photo without it either. When you have successfully dealt with the available light you have for your shot, you will have a good exposure. The subject may not be great but the exposure will be. Great photographers know how to get their camera to work with any degree of light (too much or too little). The skill comes with using different combinations of ISO, F Stop and Shutter Speed to deal with the available light to get the outcome you desire. It is a balancing act! ISO is generally pretty easy to set, so don’t make this harder than it needs to be. Keep reading for the next two skills, you are almost there!

 

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