Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Tips for Using ISO Settings in Photography

Tips for Using ISO Settings in Photography

Link to PictureCorrect Photography Tips

Tips for Using ISO Settings in Photography

Posted: 24 Mar 2014 05:26 PM PDT

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When you as a photographer – amateur or professional, analog or digital – practice your craft or hobby, you will at one time or another become acquainted with the three letters ISO. If the camera does not get enough light onto the sensor or film, the images will be too dark.

iso settings camera tips

“Christmas light” captured by Jingz (Click Image to See More From Jingz)

To correct this you can set a higher value on the ISO. All photographers are dependent on light and lighting conditions can be very variable at different locations or times of day. The ISO value is for that reason an important tool that allows the photographer to be able to work effectively in many different lighting conditions.

ISO value has influence on the shutter speed and aperture for any photo shoot. Deep in the rain forest, to a concert or a moonlight walk, where there is little light available, it will by using this tool will be possible to get excellent pictures without using a tripod. This is one of the reasons why the digital cameras has made it much easier to be a photographer.

ISO Indicates the Sensitivity of the Image Sensor

With ISO (International Standards Organization, previously known as ASA), we mean how quickly a film or digital sensor is capable of recording light. An image sensor set to ISO 100 requires twice as much light to achieve a normal exposure, as when the sensor is set to ISO 200.

In order to get twice the light the shutter speed must either be doubled (e.g., from 1/60 to 1/30 seconds) or the aperture must be opened up a whole f-stop (e.g., from f/5.6 to f/4).

That may not sound like a good idea to have to double the shutter speed so that we risk blurring the picture? Why doesn’t we always set the ISO speed as high as possible (e.g., ISO 1600) to obtain the fastest possible shutter speeds?

Higher ISO Values Produces More Noise

The downside of raising the ISO number is more noisy images – in the film world, this is a bit more romantically known as grain.

High ISO Entails Several Drawbacks

It is not just noise that increases with increased ISO settings. There are actually three “problems” that occur: increased noise, reduced sharpness and reduced contrast ratio.

digital photo with noise from high iso

High ISO = High Noise (Slightly exaggerated to show effect in this example)

The last two problems are usually marginal. The decrease in the sharpness of the increased noise that hides the details. Reduced contrast ratio refers to the ability to see details/nuances in the shadow areas as well as highlights.

Is Noise Always Negative?

People often tend to have a hard time telling the difference between images with low and high ISO speeds and very large prints. Therefore, it is difficult to choose which you prefer – a little “noise” doesn’t always disturb the picture. It may even bring a little feeling into the photo.

Different Cameras Provide Different Levels of Noise

Now you may think that you do not recognize this at all – when you test high ISO settings on your camera, the pictures may seem to be very noisy, much more noisy?

Yes, the noise is very different between different cameras and it has been an enormous development in recent years. If you have a compact camera, the risk that your images even at ISO 400 looks like ISO 3200 in other cameras. But if you use a modern digital SLR, you should be able to get great pictures even on ISO 800 and maybe even at higher ISO speeds if your camera allows it.

The problems we have these days when we assess the digital images is that we would look at them maximum zoomed in on the screen. However do not forget to relate to the possible noise you see to what size you actually use the image. Honestly, how many images to print larger than A5/A4?

How High ISO Should I Tolerate in My Camera?

Test your camera! Take a picture of the same motif with different ISO settings and print or send images to the photo lab. The most challenging is to shoot indoors in a low light setting. To try different ISO settings in daylight gives surprisingly comparable results, it is in low light conditions the major problems occur.

digital camera iso settings

Photo captured by gitesh gupta (click image to see more From gitesh gupta)

This is What You Gain by Increasing the ISO Settings

Now I have spent the whole article to explain the potential problems of raising the ISO. Let us finally turn to the issue and look at the opportunities provided by changing the ISO value.

By Raising the ISO Setting, You Can:

- Speed Up the Shutter Speed.

It is common to have problems getting fast shutter speeds when taking pictures indoors at night (= reduced risk of image blur). Although you may have opened the aperture to the max, you may even have to raise the ISO as high you think the quality will allow.

- Reduce the Aperture Setting.

Instead of changing the shutter speed, you can choose to reduce the aperture (for example, from f/4 to f/5.6) if you need a greater depth of field.

- Try a Combination of Both.

For example, if you raise the ISO setting from 100 to 400, you have doubled the ISO value in two steps. This allows for faster shutter speeds combined with reduced aperture, like going from 1/30 to 1/60 sec. (= 1 step) and f/4 to f/5.6 (= 1 step).

Is it Possible to Lower the ISO Setting From Time to Time?

The most common is that you want to increase the ISO value, but if there is a lot of light in the scene it can be justified to go the other way. Here are three examples:

Example 1:

You want to shoot a stream and use a slow shutter speed around half a second to get good-looking motion blur in the water.


Here you must set the camera at lowest ISO. If the minimum aperture is still not enough, you must use a gray filter that reduces the light inlet.

Example 2:

You want to shoot with wide aperture to get the short depth of field on a sunny day. You have chosen the A/Aperture Value setting (Auto Aperture Priority) to get to choose f/2.8 aperture while the camera determines the shutter speed for you. The problem is that your images are overexposed at all times.


A large aperture (comparable with a large pupil) on a sunny day means fast shutter speeds. Most cameras cannot capture images faster than 1/4000 or 1/8000 seconds, which may be too slow for the ISO number you selected. If you can, try to reduce the ISO to 100 or 50. If it is not enough, the only choice left is to buy a gray filter for the lens, which removes some of the sunlight.

iso settings examples and scenarios

“bee seduction” captured by David Hobcote (Click Image to See More From David Hobcote)

Example 3:

You try to shoot indoors in a low light setting and has set the ISO at max, you have selected a large aperture and still think that the shutter speed is a bit too slow. You now turn on the flash and take the shot, however you notice that the picture becomes too bright. Despite the fact that you reduce the flash power all the images appear to be heavily overexposed.


In extreme situations, the lowest effect of the flash can be too strong for the scene along with your choice of a high ISO number. The only opportunity to use flash in such a situation is to lower the ISO until you notice that the image becomes darker and then start to increase flash power again. From there, you will try to aim for a good balance between the ISO and the flash effect.

About the Author:
Morris Scjomin has been a professional photographer for over 10 years, practicing exclusively in the field of portraiture, still life, and documentary images. He has an affection and a passion for camera lenses. For additional tips and advice please feel free to check out Morris Scjomin’s camera settings guide.

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Use the Inverse-Square Law to Improve Your Light Painting (Video)

Posted: 24 Mar 2014 02:45 PM PDT

Light painting is a bit of an obscure art–it involves sitting in a completely dark room, setting your camera to a long exposure, and painting light onto the image with delicate wrist strokes of an LED light. (This article gives an excellent overview.) In the video below, we’re shown an intermediate-level rule of light painting that uses something called the “inverse-square law”:

The inverse-square law dictates that “light falls off by the square of the distance.” Simply put, for light painting purposes, if you move your light twice as far from the object, you lose two stops of light. You should experiment with this at home if you’re interested: adjusting the distance between your light and the object can create some very unique visual effects.


Harold Ross, the video’s instructor, is a masterful fine art photographer: still life pears, antique piano shops, rusted oil cans all take on a new surreal look in front of his lens. In this video’s demonstration, he’s shooting a portrait of a old scale. Note how there’s no strong definition between the object and the background:


This original image lacks definition between the scale and the background.

Ross wants to fix that by placing a highlight on the upper-righthand side. Normally, he says, he would take his LED light and keep its distance from the object consistent while painting up and down the scale’s frame. That way, the photographer has more control of the light and its consistency. This would create a solid beam of light along the rim, like this:


Ross painted a highlight onto the scale’s edge for this shot, but the light is a bit too even.

However, Ross wants to try something different. Instead of moving his entire arm up and down to create a uniform light, he keeps his arm steady and oscillates his wrist up and down, like a rotating fan. This tapers the light off along the edges from its strongest point in the center, which gives the image more depth and subtlety.


Raking the light created a more aesthetically pleasing highlight.

“I think it’s more beautiful. It feels a little more round, and it also indicates the direction of light a little more clearly.” – Harold Ross

Go to full article: Use the Inverse-Square Law to Improve Your Light Painting (Video)

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Interesting Photo of the Day: Pebbles on a Montana Lakeshore

Posted: 24 Mar 2014 01:41 PM PDT

Glacier National Park is one of the greatest natural parks in North America. Spanning over a million acres and two mountain ranges at the United States-Canada border, it’s home to more than a thousand plant species and hundreds of animals—to say nothing of its sheer natural beauty, even when there’s not a single living creature in sight:


The deep depth of field ties the image together. (Via 500px. Click for larger image.)

Landscape and nature photographer Jason Savage snapped this shot of Lake McDonald in Montana back in 2011. Notwithstanding the obvious HDR and over-saturation (which always draws strongly-worded critics and fans), Savage did a great job with composing the shot and keeping a deep depth of field. The mountains and clouds are pristine, and they tie together the image perfectly.

Go to full article: Interesting Photo of the Day: Pebbles on a Montana Lakeshore

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Article from: PictureCorrect Photography Tips

The Surreal Photography of a Modern-Day Salvador Dali (Album)

Posted: 24 Mar 2014 12:05 PM PDT

In what has basically been a 14-year Photoshop ad, the career of surrealist Swedish photographer Erik Johansson has produced some of the most dazzling images on the web, blending the 3D trickery with a soft-focus, dreamlike lens. He is a full-time digital retoucher and photographer, but more properly, he is an artist in the same vein as surrealist greats, like Salvador Dali, RenĂ© Magritte and Jacek Yerka:

Johansson’s been noticed and commissioned by Google, Adobe, and iMax, and has even given a TED Talk on inspiring people through his magical art. He shoots primarily with a Canon 5D Mark II and relies heavily (and obviously) on Photoshop.

“Growing up on the Swedish countryside had a big impact on my visual style. A lot of the environments in my photos are captured near places I know, around my parents' home with wide open landscapes and small red houses. Inspiration is everywhere and what you can imagine is what you can create.”

Go to full article: The Surreal Photography of a Modern-Day Salvador Dali (Album)

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Gutsy Teen Climbs One World Trade Center to Snap Photos (Video)

Posted: 24 Mar 2014 10:28 AM PDT

Call him a daredevil, call him a criminal: a 16-year-old boy just broke into One World Trade Center, a skyscraper touted by some as “the number-one target for terrorism in the entire planet,” just to snap a few quick pictures and climb back down. He was promptly arrested. Go figure.

Watch the full news report here:

The stuntman in question is Justin Casquejo, a high school student from Weehawken, New Jersey. He’s been charged with a misdemeanor of trespassing, though there’s an argument to be made that the port authority and police should be thanking the kid for exposing security weaknesses so early.

The teen slipped through a hole in the construction fence outside, climbed up some scaffolding, then rode the elevator up to the top, where he walked right past a sleeping security guard (who has since been fired), and climbed to the top of the spire.


A shot taken months earlier of Casquejo suddenly looks pretty ominous. (Via The Village Voice.)

The story reminds us of a similar one a few months back, when two bold photographers illegally scaled the tallest building in China and came back down with incredible high-res shots.

Casquejo isn’t a professional photographer, and we haven’t seen his rooftop proofs yet—which will inevitably be fuzzy smartphone pics. Until they surface, he’s got some explaining to do. Naturally, he started his apology on Twitter:

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Article from: PictureCorrect Photography Tips

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