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What is ISO in Photography?

There are times when you capture images in a bright sunny day at some beach and other times it is simply some dim or dark environment that you have. Then the most important thing that affects the quality of your image in such diverse situations is the ISO of your camera. So, an in-depth knowledge of ISO in photography is very crucial in deciding the quality of your picture. You may now wonder what is ISO?

Understanding ISO

ISO is one of the three necessary pillars for an amazing photography experience. The other two components of photography are ‘aperture’ and ‘shutter speed’ which are equally essential as well. ISO or most commonly referred as the ‘sensitivity’ of the camera actually determines how much light is required for a perfect photograph. It generally ranges from 200 to 1600 where the lowest number produces image of the finest quality (lowest noise).

The technically advanced Digital SLRs come with an in-built changeable ISO setting that enables you to change your setting for every shot in respect of its lighting conditions.

What Are The Effects of ISO?

The shutter speed of your camera is indirectly proportional to the ISO. That means when you stick to the lowest setting, your shutter speed becomes the fastest. So if you raise your ISO from 200 to 400, the shutter speed will further lessen from 1/250 second to 1/500 second. Therefore, if you are shooting indoors, you need to set your camera on high ISOs but when you are under the sunny blue sky, low ISO will work perfectly.

ISOs are also responsible for the amount of noise in your picture. When it is high, it will result in a grainier image. This digital noise is in relation with the light sensitivity of your camera. More sensitive grains that are easily visible in your image can lead to a poor quality picture.

How to Use it Better

The picture-perfect setting is extremely helpful in capturing flawless pictures even in the unfavorable lighting conditions. When you retain the right setting you can rest assure of the highest quality image.

  • Have access to the ISO setting of your camera which might be somewhere in the menu or has a particular button for it. It will usually range from 100 or 200 to 1600 for most of your Digital SLRs.
  • Take various pictures in different light conditions in P(program) mode. All these shots can be compared to comprehend the most suited ISO which complements the condition and your taste too.
  • Shoot the same scene with different shutter speeds to know what speed is giving you a perfect sharp shot. When you are familiar with the shutter speed, you can use it to determine your required ISO as well.

Once you thoroughly understand the role of ISO, you can effectively achieve all your desired affects in your photographs. Being a photographer, it is of utmost importance for you to capture images of the finest quality.

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