ISO for Beginners

If you have been in photography much time at all, you have likely heard about the ISO. Do you understand the importance of the ISO, though? Many beginner photographers do not. Well, we will be discussing that here.

In traditional photography, how sensitive the film was to light is called the ISO. You probably remember seeing the ISO on the film if you ever used a film camera. They would typically be rated somewhere between 100 to 800. When you use the lower number, the sensitivity was lower on the film and the grain was finer in the shots you took.

Now, in digital photography, the sensitivity of the image sensor is measured by the ISO. It’s the same principle as an film photography. The lower ISO number you use, the finer the grain and the less sensitive your camera is to light.

When you photograph in a darker situation, it is best to use a higher ISO setting to accomplish faster shutter speeds. For instance, if you are shooting in a lower light situation but want to freeze the action, such as in an indoor sport. Using a higher ISO will give you more noise in your shot, though. This is a sacrifice in photography you have to determine if you want to make are not.

If you’re looking for a crisp shot with little noise or grain, 100 ISO is considered the normal setting.

Most beginning photographers keep their digital cameras on auto so the camera can select the setting for ISO based on the shooting conditions you are in. The camera will try to keep the ISO as low as possible. Many cameras will give you the option to choose your own ISO as well. If you choose your own ISO settings, you will also notice a change in the aperture and shutter speed you will need to get a well exposed shot. The higher you move your ISO, the smaller aperture and the higher shutter speeds will be needed to accomplish a good photograph.