What is ISO, how does it work and why you should care?

The ISO controls light sensitivity of the sensor, and together with the shutter speed and aperture it determines the exposure of an image. ISO numbers range from 50 to some hundred thousand depending on the camera you have. The higher the number the more sensitive the sensor is. This means that the more light available the lower your ISO should be. On the other hand, when it is darker and there is not a lot of light, you want to use a higher ISO to let the sensor take advantage of the light that is available.

You want to change the ISO to be able to best capture different scenes. If you only change your shutter speed or aperture you might be missing out on some great potential. And your shutter speed might be too long to be able to hand hold your camera. If you are only shooting in auto you are also lacking control of your camera, your settings and the outcome – so take control! If you are not ready for manual mode, then I recommend starting with aperture priority.

A high ISO comes at a price however- and that is noise. Noise or grain are little dots in your photo that can make it look quite… well…noisy. You will see more noise in your photos as you increase the ISO. To avoid this I recommend using a low ISO. I like to keep mine at 100 (the lowest setting on my camera), and I change just the aperture and shutter speed to get a good exposure. If I am in a low light situation I will have to increase the ISO though. To keep noise to a minimum I won’t change it until I have to.

To a certain extent noise can be corrected in post processing. Noise can also be added to give the final image a filmy look. You see, noise tend to look good in film photos, but not really in digital images, so it’s best to avoid it.

Now, get out your camera and try it!

Leave a Comment





Ingvild-Portrett

Hi, I'm Ingvild

I spend as much of my time as I can being outside taking photos of happy couples in love. I live with my dog and boyfriend in Norway, and I love traveling the world in search of beautiful locations and love stories.

you might also like

switching from Canon to Sony

Switching from Canon to Sony

delivered images

11 steps from completed photo shoot to delivered images

rule of thirds

The rule of thirds – composition 101

Depth of field

Depth of field – the most powerful tool a photographer has?

Client success stories

Let me tell you about my students: 💛Meet Taran: She decided to go all-in with her photography business and she quit her part-time job this year. Even though she’s newer when it comes to running a business, she’s laid a great groundwork for getting started. She’s increased her prices and booked dream clients hear what…

Read More

How your mindset could be holding you back from success

Do these thoughts sound familiar? It will happen when I have… I am not making money because the industry is saturated… I don’t have time… I don’t have enough money to make this work… As a fellow photographer, these thoughts sound awfully familiar. I have blamed others for what I don’t have. Felt like there…

Read More

Photographer’s guide to overcoming imposter syndrome

Even though there might be better photographers out there. It is not about that. You don’t have to compete with them. You just have to be the best version of yourself.

Read More

5 steps to better SEO for wedding photographers

Your photography and website can be the best around, but if the content on your page doesn’t contain keywords that your ideal clients are using when they search on Google, then they probably won’t find you.

Read More

Why you NEED a contract

A contract is an agreement between the photographer and the couple getting married. The contract should cover responsibilities, costs, and what to expect in various cases and events.

Read More

20 must-see motivational movies and TV shows

I hope watching one (or all) of these will leave you feeling inspired and ready to get to work.

Read More

Switching from Canon to Sony

The very first DSLR I bought 12 years was a Canon. All the upgrades I’ve bought since then have, of course, also been Canon. And now I want to switch.

Read More

How to get booked- even in a saturated market

Making the value of your service clear to your clients is vital in terms of being able to charge appropriately. If you are having a hard time getting your leads to book there’s a good chance that it’s not your prices but the way you present them that’s the issue.

Read More

How to accomplish anything you want

Imagine there’s a way you can rid yourself of frustration and uncertainty in your business. There is! Simply by setting goals and creating a plan.

Read More

When and how to raise your prices

Even though we’ve established that raising your prices can be scary. But if you don’t you can actually be missing out – and even losing money.

Read More