DSLR & Photography 101

By 

Talita Springer


 

The digital single lens reflex ( dSLR ) and Photography 101 course is a great step upward for anyone who wants to expend their creative horizons, or simply just get better pictures. Whether you want to become a serious photo hobbyist, have a hankering to turn pro. This is the perfect opportunity to build a strong foundation and understanding of DSLR & Basic Photography.

This next 3 week's class we will learn about Aperture, Shutter speed & ISO. How all comes together in creating your perfect image! 

This week's class its all about ISO . 

 

Lesson - ISO Setting

What is ISO?  ISO can be very intimating and confusing to learn. I decided to put down a straight forward definition of ISO then a more in depth explanation.

If you didn't know, ISO is short for International Organizational Standard.  In the photographic world, ISO is most commonly referred to as a film rating system.  ISO is a standard telling you how sensitive your digital sensor is to light.

  • Higher the ISO, the more sensitive the sensor is to light. 
  • ISO speed affects allowed aperture and shutter speed combinations. (Which means they all go in as a team to better expose your image)
  • Higher the ISO, the more grainy or noisy pictures may appear. ( this effect often causes the image to loose its sharpness)

So, what is best ISO?  In many situations it is not possible to have an image with low ISO sensitivity.  Such situations include those where there is low light and no tripod, or where the motion is very quick. Ideal, we would like to keep ISO level as low as possible. The lower the number the sharper your image will be. However,  this is not always possible and this should not intimidate you from cranking your ISO up. You will learn later on as to why.

Digital photographers are not so constrained by a roll of having one set ISO sensitivity, and can change the ISO sensitivity rather easily.  That isn’t to say digital cameras can escape the adverse effects of shooting with higher ISO.

When the ISO is too high, photos tend to appear grainy.  The same is true with Digital Cameras instead of being called grainy it’s called noise.   The higher the ISO, the the more noisy digital photos appear. What is consider low or high will vary based on the camera body you own. The lower end camera has less sensitivity to ISO which does not allow you to bump your ISO too high before you will notice grain/noise.  Digital cameras now days can range from ISO 45- High's 65,000. ( I can help you check what is the highest your camera allows you to go before giving you grain/noise)

(ISO grain image samples)

Here is our exercise for the week:  Put your camera in aperture priority mode, set the aperture to the lowest possible number.( this will vary based on camera bodies as well as lens you are using)

Remember, this will let the most light in, since it is opening wider. ( small aperture number, you will learn this later on).

Now find a room in your house that is dimly lit, one that you would ordinarily use a flash in.  Raise up your ISO and take the picture. Are you able to get the shot? If not, you may need to raise your ISO again. Take a picture, write the ISO down for that image. Raise your ISO again and snap another image. Please repeat this at least 2 times. 

Now move on to a better lit room or outdoor. Repeat the process. Compare images (please share, I enjoy viewing your exercise work)

Phew!! That is so much information to take in, are any of you still with me? If you are still reading, thank you!! Ok, so now you have the information. Your assignment this week is to take two-three photos, one in Automatic Aperture mode.  

Here are some tips:

  1. Do you hate that flashy look of photos indoors? Turn the flash off, lower your aperture and raise your ISO. You shouldn’t need a flash.
  2. Want to tell a story with your photo? Turn your aperture all the way down (lots of people refer to this as shooting wide open) and blur out some element of the photo, ie, a baby with a big sibling blurry but in the background.
  3. Shooting fast toddlers or animals like a dog or bird? Set shutter speed faster and your subject suddenly becomes sharp!
  4. It helps to take three or four pictures, each with different settings, so you can get a feel for how each setting will change your photo.