Wednesday, March 10, 2010

12 Weeks to Better Photography - Week 2


Week 2 is on ISO and shutter speed. ISO is how quickly an image is caputured. A higher ISO will let an image be captured more quickly, but the image will have a lot of graininess or noise. I usually use auto ISO or when I'm inside and not using flash, I set it to High. Shutter speed is how fast the lens opens and closes. If it's fast it will will freeze and image. If it's slow the action will be blurred.

Shutter speed is something I alway have a problem with. I've yet to be able to use it inside without ending up with a black picture. I've experimented with exposure and ISO and always seem to have problems with it.

The tutorial uses a cup under the sink. I opened all the windows, turned on all the lights, bumped up the ISO and the exposure and my shots were too dark over 1/500.
My camera only went to 1/2500 for shutter speed.

Settings: f stop: 4, shutter speed: 1/80, ISO 1600, exposure 0

See how blurry the water is? That's a slow shutter speed.

Settings: f stop: 2.8, shutter speed: 1/500, ISO 1600, exposure: 2

Although the picture is dark, the shutter speed was fast enough to freeze the water and actually show some droplets.

I moved outside to try to reduce noise from the high ISO and to get the shutter speed up higher. Here's my setup - the hose spraying water over the side of the deck:


Settings: f stop: 5.6, shutter speed: 1/80, ISO:100, exposure: 0

Settings: f stop: 7.1, shutter speed: 1/800 ISO: 1600, exposure: 0

Settings" f stop:5.6, shutter speed: 1/2500, ISO: 1600, exposure: 0

See how the images started off really blurry and got clearer? As the shutter speed went faster I had to bump up the ISO to get enough light.

So that's ISO and Shutter Speed and a bit of Exposure. Does anyone else have problems with their pictures being too dark indoors? Even when I shoot in full manual I have this problem.

ETA: My ISO only goes up to 1600. I wonder if it's just not high enough to get good enough indoor shots?


  1. Hi! Love the outdoor shots. I found that I had to turn the iso to it's highest setting (my camera has a "h" setting which gives an iso of 3200)... This helped make the higher shutter speed pictures for me!

  2. Yup, mine were too dark - in fact, they were black. So I also only play around with shutter speed outdoors. Great imagination with the hose set up though :)

  3. I like your outdoor pictures! Very cool demonstration of the lesson. :-)

  4. Even at 1600 ISO (which is the highest that my camera goes too), I think the dark shots are just the nature of the beast with a fast shutter speed. I imagine that some external flashes would help, but who wants to spend that kind of money unless you make a living taking pics of water droplets?!

  5. You may have already learned this by now since this is an older post, but also opening up your aperture (lower f/stop numbers) will help you "gather" more light into your camera for indoor shots.


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