I will be writing a series of photography tutorials for the fine folk at Bonnie Gordon College in Toronto. While these tutorials are aimed at professionals working in the food industry, my approach to photography is very lifestyle based so they can be applied to practically all genres. Also, I will be taking photos of stuff I have in and around the house to illustrate my points.
Before I decided to go to photography school, I’d never experimented with photography. One day I woke up and decided that I wanted to live a creative life so I made a portfolio, reapplied to Dawson College, and got accepted (I had actually applied 4 years earlier and had been rejected:)).
I was taught right from the beginning to shoot in manual mode. So while it was challenging for me, I can imagine how difficult it must be for someone who’s been in automatic mode (having already developed that habit) to switch things up and learn to take complete control of their camera.
However, I want you to know that it’s really not that hard if you can suffer through the learning curve of making mistakes and understand that shooting manual is all about controlling the light by either making a final image darker or brighter.
Note: This is a long post, but I’ve tried to be as concise and succinct as possible. It’s worth taking the time to read because shooting in manual is the first step to getting “nice” pictures consistently. I’ve broken it down into a three part series and I suggest going through one part and making sure you understand it, before moving on.
So let’s begin,
First of all, there are only three settings that you need to be concerned about. They are: ISO, aperture, and shutter speed. We’ll have a look at each of them, but before starting, look through your manual (or check out a video) to make sure you know how to adjust your ISO, aperture, and shutter speed. Today, we’ll focus on ISO.
• The more light you need to take a photo, the higher you need your ISO to be
• The less light you need to take a photo, the lower you need your ISO to be
Ok, so let’s imagine for a second walking into a dim room with a very small window, in order to get a properly exposed image, you would need to increase your ISO. You would need light, therefore you would need to increase your ISO.
On the other hand, if you walk into a bright sunny room with large bay windows, you wouldn’t need more light, since the environment is already bright. Therefore, you would require a lower ISO than in the first scenario.
You just can’t go around raising your ISO. The higher you increase your ISO the more noise you’ll have in your pictures. Noise is the grain that you see in pictures sometimes. Unless you’re specifically going for that effect, you don’t want that. You should be aiming for nice crisp images, which means that you should aim for as low an ISO as you can.
Here are some guidelines for where your ISO should be in different environments:
• ISO 50-100.: Bright light (for example outside on a sunny day)
• ISO 200: Overcast or cloudy days
• ISO 400 and 800: If the light is dim (outside or inside) but it’s not quite night yet
• ISO 1600 and above: If you’re indoors in a dim room or at night. You will start to get noise here especially in lower level cameras.
Practice: Put your camera in manual mode. The aim here is not to take a “nice” photo but to see what happens as you raise and lower the ISO of your camera. It doesn’t matter what other settings you use because you will see the effect of playing with the ISO, but if you really want guidance, put your camera on automatic, see what it gives you as settings, and go from them. Now go through each of the ISOs and look at what happens in each case.
Well, that’s it for now. I’ll put part two up next week. If you have any questions whatsoever, send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Alternately, you can spend hours on the internet trying to find the answer, lol. Just kidding. Just email me, it’s much simpler.