February 18: #KnowYourNikon
In January, we covered getting to know focal distance. In our first February challenge, we learned how to utilize aperture.
For February's second challenge, we are going to learn about ISO! We talked a bit about it in our #FeeltheNoise posts, but now we are going to go more in depth!
First off, I'm sure you want to know what "ISO" means. It is a short-hand version of "International Standards Organization", which regulates sensitivity ratings for your sensors in your camera. What you have your ISO set at directly effects your camera's sensitivity to light. The lower your ISO, the less sensitive your camera is to light, and the higher your ISO, the more sensitive it is. It's this higher sensitivity that causes the "noise" or "grain" in your photograph, so if you notice you have a lot of grain in your images, it's time to bring that ISO down, unless you purposefully are including the grain.
So, you've learned aperture, and now we are learning ISO. This means that you now are going to know 2/3 factors that determine your camera's exposure, which means you are almost ready to practice and master playing with settings on your camera for the perfect shot.
Aperture and ISO have a set relationship when it comes to setting your camera up for a photo. If your ISO is set at 100, and your aperture is set at 18 (which means a small opening, remember), you may not get a great exposure (It would have to be really bright to get a good exposure). Now, if for whatever reason you want your aperture to stay at 18, you may have to adjust your ISO to a higher setting to allow more light into your camera to give you a better exposure.
Now, let's say you were shooting a night image the previous day, and you go out the next morning and take a photo and your screen is completely white after taking the image. Chances are, your ISO is set too high. Typically, on a sunny day, you will only set your ISO to 100 or 200.
Another thing I want to point out is, don't rely on Photoshop to save your image. If you have too much noise to begin with, there is no really saving your image. Sure, you can keep smoothing over your image until there's no noise, but then your image is going to lack detail and substance.
Go out there and practice playing with your ISO and aperture settings!
Photographer, visual artist, and customer service extraordinaire.