Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Better Photos- Week 2- ISO/Shutter Speed

WOW! I've got 22 followers (my lucky number) and over 1,000 page views! I'm so excited to see my blog growing! Welcome back to the veterans and hello newbies!

For the veterans, sorry I've taken so long to make this second post. I had a lot of trouble with the challenge and just recently figured out a way around it. Good thing I can go at my own pace! For the newbies, I'm following an article 12 Weeks To Better Photos. Recently, we discussed Aperture. This is Week 2- ISO/Shutter Speed. I hope you learn something and I would love it if you joined me on the adventure. Enjoy!

What I learned:
ISO- film speed, or how fast an image will be captured. The higher the number, the quicker the capture and less light required.
   Rule of Thumb (ROT):
  • ISO 100-200 Bright light and outdoors
  • ISO 400- Shade, Overcast, Indoors- lots of light
  • ISO 800-1600- Indoors, Low light, Sports/Action
The higher the ISO, the less time the camera has to make the image accurate. Therefore leading to more digital noise and a grainy-er (yea, so i made it up) picture.

Shutter Speed-how fast the shutter or little door in front of film or sensor operates. A faster shutter speed will freeze action, where as a slower shutter speed may blur it. On your camera, shutter speeds are seen as 60, 120, 1000, etc. These represent 1/60th of a second, 1/120 of a second, and so on. The bigger the bottom number, the faster the shutter speed. You will also see numbers marched with inch marks ("), this is for seconds. So 30" means the shutter is open for 30 seconds and 1"5 is 1 and 1/2 seconds.

  • Anything 1/50th or anything with inch marks, you should use a tripod or flat, stable surface to hold the camera steady. Use slow shutter speed to portray a blurred subject or surroundings.
  • If holding the camera, make sure shutter speed is at least 1/60th of a second. If you are wiggly, try setting the shutter speed higher for a clearer picture.
  • For sports or action shots, set the shutter speed at least at 1/1000th of a second. Faster shutter speeds will freeze the subject in action with less blur.
The Challenge

The challenge was to photograph running water over a surface. These challenges are designed for SLR cameras (which I don't have), but the authors do give you tips on how to use your point&shoot (P&S) cameras as well. I tried and tried, but was unable to photograph the running water in an adequate way, even with their P&S suggestions. So I tried instead to photograph some other moving objects to try to learn the skills. I was finally successful!

It took a lot of practice and playing around with my camera. Also, in order to really get the concept to sink in, I had to put my camera in Manual mode (AHHH, scary!). I'm so glad I did though! Once I played around a bit and figured out my camera, I was able to get some shots that made sense!

1/1600, ISO 800, f 3.5
My ISO was too high here, reason being -I was still learning how to adjust settings on my camera. However, there was a lesson learned! As stated above, a higher ISO can lead to a grainy-er picture, which it did. However, notice here that the shutter speed was set at 1/1600 which froze the action. Digger was shaking the stick wildly, but you can't tell, can you? The action is frozen.

1/500, ISO 800, f 3.5
Ok, so ISO still too high here, but lesson learned. The shutter speed on this one is 1/500. As you can see, the stick that is being shaken wildly is now blurred.

Here is another example:

ISO 800, 1/1600, f 3.2
Ok, so let's ignore the ISO we already know the lesson there. Focus on the shutter speed. The fan was moving at full speed when the shot was taken. At 1/1600, notice that the movement is frozen.

ISO 800, 1/100, f 3.2
The fan was still moving at the same speed. But at 1/100, notice you see the blur. The movement is not frozen.

Hopefully not overwhelming you, but there is a second part to this challenge. The authors then wanted you to put your camera in Manual mode and try to acheive balance with the settings. In order to acheive proper exposure, the aperture and shutter speed need to balance. Luckily, most cameras come with a meter that help you determine the proper exposure for your shot. As previously mentioned, I had to put the camera in Manual mode to get any of this to work. So this second part of the challenge was already accomplished. FYI-this section was shortened extensively by me to shorten this post as a whole. If you are interested in the entire article, please click here, and choose ISO/Shutter Speed.

Lastly, I wanted to give props to this post It was done by Audrey from The Daily Wyatt as a guest post on Paper Heart Camera (links below).  This article really brought home the concepts for this challenge and helped me get over my fear of Manual mode. I strongly encourage you to read it for inspiration or a refresher or alternative lesson on all the skills we've discussed so far, aperture, iso, and shutter speed. I would also encourage you to check out both of their blogs just for pure enjoyment :)

The Daily Wyatt

Photography love...
The Paper Mama

And lastly, my posts for You Capture this week. The theme was Busy.

Busy playing.

Busy laughing.

The result of being busy.

But at least this is all a fun kind of busy! Happy Wednesday! Have a great week!! Check out more pictures and blogs at the links below.

You Capture

Wordish Wednesday



the long road
Nicole's Random Blog Hop




  1. Busy playing, busy laughing, and busy sleeping sound like GREAT ways to be busy!!!!! Love that you're diving into manual mode, it's a big step and an awesome way to learn!

  2. Yep, sleep is definitely the result of busy!

  3. Love your shots of busy! Sleep is totally UNDER rated! :)I so look forward to it.

  4. Great photos. Love your tips.

  5. Looks like he's having a great time being busy!

  6. You're going to totally master it before you know it! In fact, it looks like you already did! ;) LOVE all your shots! :)

    WW: Curriculum Fair Fun with YoYo's


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