DSLR Basics: Why Manual + ISO

Hey friends! Today we are back at it with the next step to rocking it out with your DSLR camera. At this point, you have the “finding good light” thing down and now that we know exactly where to shoot, let’s learn how to shoot. In manual mode. DUN DUN.

Throughout this week and next I will be breaking down manual mode into 3 easy steps: ISO, F-Stop, and Shutter Speed. 

But first, for those who don’t know: Manual mode is when YOU are in complete control of your camera, and more specifically the exposure. We shoot in manual, essentially, because we are smarter than the camera. When a camera is in automatic mode it quickly chooses all the settings for us, which sounds nice, but it rarely knows exactly what we need. To learn to shoot in manual, all you have to know is how to control each setting and what exactly you want. Easy. I promise. 

So let’s dive in. 

First things first: ISO. 

When you set your ISO sensor, you are choosing how sensitive to light your camera will be. The lower the number the less sensitive, and therefore the darker the image. The higher the number the more sensitive, and therefore the brighter the image. Try to keep your ISO as low as possible, because if it gets too high your image will be grainy. 

When shooting outside, on a sunny day you can pretty much guarantee your ISO will be set at 100. In the shade you might kick it up to 120-400, depending on your style. Inside you will most likely be pushing on 800-1600+.

I always set my ISO first, because it is the only setting that strictly affects light. Unlike, f-stop and shutter speed, you don't set ISO based on what you are shooting, only where you are shooting.

So there you have it! The basics of ISO and the start of shooting in manual. I can't wait for next week when you get the final 2 pieces of the puzzle: f-stop + shutter speed. :)