shutter, aperture, and iso oh my

Last Thursday, I asked y'all what you wanted me to talk about Photography related on this here blog.  I got some great questions!  Thank you for asking. I hope what I have to say will help you. 

The first question I received was asking about some tips on taking better photos.  I think one of the most important things to understand to improve your photography is to get better acquainted with Shutter Speed, Aperture, and ISO.  I know you have heard about them before but maybe, like me, find it all to be a little bit overwhelming.  Well, I made a little cheat sheet to help you better understand what each term represents and how it effects your photo.

Shutter Speed or Exposure: The length of time the camera's shutter is open when taking a photo.  The longer the shutter is open the more light comes in resulting in a brighter, better exposed photo.  For those bright sunny days, the faster (or lower the number) the shutter the better.  For those low light situations, the slower (or higher the number) the better.  When using a slow shutter, you want to make sure you have either a tripod or somewhere sturdy to set your camera.  Otherwise if you move even the slightest you will get a blurry photo.  Utilizing the self-timer or buying an off camera trigger is best for those types of situations. 

Aperture or f stop:  The opening in your camera that allows light to travel through.  The higher the f stop the smaller the opening that is allowing light to come in.  The lower the f stop the larger the opening that is allowing more light through. This one is the hardest for me to remember because everything seems opposite.  Also, the smaller the f stop the more focused your subject will be with a blurred background creating that bokeh effect.  The bigger the f stop the more focus the entire scene will be.  

ISO: The measure of sensitivity to light.  The lower the ISO the less sensitive it is while the higher it is the more sensitive it is.  Higher ISO is really only beneficial in low light situations.  Otherwise, when using a high ISO, it creates a lot of grain to the photo.  I keep my ISO around 640 and hardly mess with it. 

I hope this helps a little.  It really does help improve your photography once you understand how these three work together to make the perfect image.  I am still learning how these work but have been shooting in manual for over a year now which has helped me learn better.  The best way to learn is to just take your camera out and experiment.  Stay tuned next week for tips on how to better compose your photo!

Do you already shoot manual?
Any other good tips you can add?
What else would you like me talk about?

Linking up with Nicole and Ash today!

post signature


  1. Thank you for this! I'm so clueless and have only shot in automatic so far, but I'd really like to get into more manual shooting! Can't wait to play and try it out!

  2. Great tips! And that cheat sheet is perfect! I find it all so confusing but it's starting to make more sense! Stopping by from the link up!

  3. Question: what's the "ideal" highest ISO you like to use? Like, I know if there's less light you need to bump it up a bit, etc., but just for your own photography, do you have an ideal max that you don't like to go above?


I love hearing from y'all. Comments are my favorite!