How to take better photos: Understanding ISO

What is ISO?

ISO is the sensitivity of the camera to the incoming light. Lowering the ISO number, the less sensitive it is to the light producing the highest quality image, whereas a higher number increases the sensitivity producing a grainy image.

However, you cannot always use the lowest ISO setting for everything.

When to use the different settings

All cameras come with a standard ISO setting (a.k.a “Base ISO”) of 100-200, which is what you should stick with it in most cases. Another thing to remember is the ISO sensitivity doubles as it progresses i.e. 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600, 3200. What this also means, is that it takes half as much time to take a picture. So as an example:

If ISO 100 takes 1 second;
ISO 200 – 1/2 a second
ISO 400 – 1/4 a second
ISO 800 – 1/8 a second
ISO 1600 – 1/16 a second
ISO 3200 – 1/32 a second

This means, the higher the number, the quicker the shutter speed allowing you to almost instantly stop motion!

High ISO conditions:
– Sports: fast moving & low light.
– Concerts: low light & no flash.
– Art Galleries
– Churches
– Birthday Parties: especially good if you’re trying to take out photos in the dark.

How to decide which setting to use?

Stick with these questions and you’ll be fine.
1. Moving: is the subject in motion?
2. Grain: Do I want a grainy or crisp photo?
3. Tripod
4. Light: is the subject well light?

I’m currently experimenting with all of the above items. Ironically, these are not readily available on your phone so I’ll be looking out for a great app. If you know of one, please let me know so I can review it and let others know!

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