» Ben and Molly | Wedding Photography

Learning From my Mistakes:Foundation of Photography Part 2{10}

{Looking for the giveaway? Click here!}

Back in the day when buying film at the store you had to choose your ISO. (I can’t believe I am old enough to say “back in the day”. More so I can’t believe I am becoming one of the few of my photo friends who learned on film)  Anywhere between 100-3200. It would say on the box “100, for still life” or “400, for action shot”. But that’s all you really knew. Most people would stick with the safe middle of 400 all the time.  But what is ISO?  ISO is derived from a Greek word “isos” which means equal.  All photography is, is a manipulation of light to get a desired look to an image. To get a proper exposure everything must equal out. ISO, shutter speed, and aperture. Depending on what look you are going for in your photo will determine what you will do to those three things. ISO is the first step. ISO determines how sensitive your camera is to light. At 100 it isn’t very sensitive. At 3200 it is very sensitive. If you are at the beach in bright sunlight your camera doesn’t need to be very sensitive to light- there’s a lot to go around. If you are taking pictures of your kid’s ballet recital and the only thing light is the stage, then your camera needs all the help it can get!

So why not keep your camera at 1000 ISO all the time? Well, the trade off to high ISO numbers (which equals very sensitive to light) is “noise”. Noise is the digital term for “grain” when it was film. The higher the ISO the more grain. If you are taking a close up picture of your sister and it’s at 1000 ISO she would look grainy. She probably wants her face to look as beautiful as possible. So muddling  it up with little spots all over would not be nice.

All digital cameras, even the cheapest point and shoot has some sort of option to change the ISO. The cheaper the camera, though, the worse the noise. So everything is a give and take.

Here are two images shot one right after the other. The first at 400 ISO and the second at 1250 ISO. Can you see the difference? Look towards the door frame on the right. Lots of little spots all over.

Here this isn’t as much grain. The thing is, with the camera’s we use at 1250 ISO the grain isn’t that bad. That’s why we pay the big bucks, so we have more options when shooting. If this was a point and shoot the differences would be a little more dramatic. The key thing is to know is that ISO is one of the three main components to get a picture properly exposed (a.k.a not too dark and not too light) and you have the ability to change it!

He was concentrating hard to take a daddy’s remote control helicopter. I hope I don’t look like this when I am shooting! haha