ISO Tips and Tricks

learning-DSLR-ISO

Two weeks ago I went over what ISO is, but today I want to focus on a couple things that I have found helpful when setting ISO, enjoy! And feel free to leave your own tips and tricks! I'ld love to hear them! 1. Make it work for you. It definitely took a while to get the hang of ISO. It almost felt like an annoyance more than anything else until I realized that all I really wanted out of ISO was to set it so that I could get the most leverage with my other settings (shutter speed and aperture). When thinking about it like this I realized that there was one simple rule: keep it low, but not so low that I can't style the image with shutter speed and aperture. Nice.

2. Don't forget it exists. It's an easy setting to overlook considering it's not really "active" from image to image. What I mean by that is that ISO is usually a reflection of the lighting conditions and is less about the image's style. So, as long as you stay in the same lighting conditions, ISO is unlikely to need to change. However, understanding ISO means that you will be able to be diverse as lighting conditions change and have maximum control over your other settings. Don't forget to move around the ISO if you find your cloudy day turning into full sun or when going from inside to outside or any other change! It will keep you from having a massive headache trying to find out why you can't set your shutter speed without a terribly dark or bright image!

At our recent engagement session with Ryan and Colleen, we started while the sun was still strong and my ISO was kept low. As the sun set, I increased my ISO to adjust for softer, and less strong, setting sun. On the left: ISO 200, On the right: ISO 500

learning-dslr-iso_1408
learning-dslr-iso_1408

3. Have a limit for yourself. I know I described ISO as the camera's sensitivity to light. So with that, it sounds like I could set my ISO to the max and basically shoot in the dark, right? Ehhh true, but sadly there is a price for increasing ISO, which is increased noise. Some people don't mind noise, but I prefer crisp images and therefore I set a limit for myself. Every camera is different so play around with yours. I shoot with a Canon 6D and give myself an ISO limit of 2000. I know plenty of people that will double or even triple that without batting an eye, so please don't feel like that is some kind of photographer-rule... it's just my preference!

To give an example of increasing noise, look at the following images. The one on the left was taken at ISO 25600 and the image on the right was taken at ISO 640. 

learning-dslr-iso_1406
learning-dslr-iso_1406

To make it more obvious, I zoomed in a tad:

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learning-dslr-iso_1407

I hope this has helped all you out there!

Feel free to share your own tips and tricks below!