ISO – Beginner Photography

ISO – Learn Photography

ISO is the digital equivalent (or approximation) of film speed. If you remember, back in the day, you would get 100, 200, 400 or 800 ISO. This still applies to digital photography, but it’s called ISO instead of ASA. It’s still the same: 100 and 200 for outdoors with a lot of light and 400 and 800 for indoors with less light. The same rule applies: the higher the number, the more light comes in.

General rules for ISO settings

The lowest settings are ISO 50, 100, and 200, depending on the camera. It is for FULL SUNSHINE. (some high-end cameras have 50)
ISO – 400 – overcast cloudy, not so much sun.
ISO – 800 lower light – sunset time and so on.

Digital Noise and ISO

The level of noise in a photograph is determined by the camera used. Typically, noise appears at ISO 800 and becomes more noticeable at ISO 1600, although this can vary depending on the camera’s specifications. Generally, larger sensors produce less digital noise.

High ISO settings are known for introducing noise or grain into photographs. While some artists may use it as an artistic effect, many photographers strive to avoid it. However, there are exceptions, such as when photographing ghosts.

To reduce the amount of noise in your images, it is essential to understand how ISO affects the exposure. Increasing the ISO will result in a brighter image while decreasing it will darken it. Shooting outdoors and experimenting with different ISO levels can help you visualize the effects of each increment on your photos.

In photography, grain (or digital noise) is common, especially in low-light situations. Darker areas in an image tend to show more digital noise than brighter ones. Various editing tools can be discussed in further detail later to achieve high-quality results and decrease grain in your photos.

Grain or Digital Noise Examples

Here is an example of grain in a picture. On the left. The stuff on the right is what you will need to edit your photos, and we highly recommend everything we advertise in our magazine.  Back to learning; the darker parts of images is where you will see more digital noise or grain. Grain is very common in night photography. Let’s talk about ISO and night shots.

ISO - Beginner Photography

Using ISO at night.

When shooting still photos in the dark with a tripod, the ISO should always be set to 100 or the lowest available number (except for Milky Way shots and times you need to let more light in). This is because increasing the ISO will result in noise. A tripod gives you two other ways of allowing more light into your photo: decreasing the shutter speed and adjusting the aperture. Reducing the shutter speed is an excellent idea since we can keep it open for a long time without blurring due to camera shake when on a tripod.
When using a tripod, we can keep our shutter open for an extended period when the subject is motionless and there isn’t much light. Holding the camera in our hands won’t work for this, as any exposure below 1/50th of a second or so will produce blurry images. We can take crystal-clear night photos by securely mounting our camera to a sturdy tripod. When you feel confident with your tripod set-up and shooting technique, check out our How to Shoot Night Photography Section 
ISO - Beginner Photography