Camera Settings 101
Diving into a new hobby and be a lot of fun! But it can also be overwhelming at times. It has taken me several years to get to where I am at, and I still have so much to learn! If you are thinking about getting into photography, this post is for you! I am going to go over some of the basic settings and let you know the best way to set up your camera.
Shutter speed: Shutter speed is how fast your shutter on your camera opens and closes. I would set this first! The longer it is open, the more light it will let into your photo. If your shutter speed is too slow, it will cause your pictures to be blurry. A good general rule is to keep your shutter speed no slower than 1/200 of a second, although closer to 1/400 is ideal.
Aperture: Next, I set aperture. The aperture is how wide the opening inside the camera is. The lower the number, the wider aperture. So, if you have an aperture of 1.8, it is going to let in more light than if the aperture was set to 4.0. The lower the aperture number, the more blur you will have in your background. That blur is called referred to as bokeh. A lot of photographers (including me!) love to have that soft blur in the background, so we shoot wide open. That means our aperture number is low. I recommend shooting between 1.8-3.2. I usually shoot around 2.2. I am going to do a whole post on aperture next week, so if you don’t get it, don’t worry! I will go into more detail then.
ISO: The third thing I adjust is the ISO. This is how sensitive your camera sensor is to light. The lower the ISO, the less sensitive your camera is to light. So an ISO of 100 (low ISO) will be darker than a photo with an ISO of 1600 (High ISO). Typically, I set my shutter speed and aperture, and then take a picture and see if my photo needs to be lighter or darker. If it needs to be lighter, I increase my ISO. If it needs to be darker, I decrease it. The downside to having a high ISO is it will make your photos grainy. So it’s all a delicate balance! I really try not to let me ISO go higher than 800. If I still don’t have enough light in my image at 800, I slow down my shutter speed or change my aperture.
So, to recap, here are my recommended setting for portrait photography.
Shutter Speed: 1/200 of a second or faster
Aperture: between 1.8 and 3.2.
ISO: The lower the better! No higher than 800.
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