July 30, 2013


Hi, and welcome back to Basic Photography Tips Part II. Last week, in Part I, we covered, shutter speed, aperture, and meter reading. This week we will cover, ISO, White Balance, and reading the light.
 (2009 image example of side lighting, 2011 image example of back lighting.)

ISO, White Balance, and reading the light are all similar concepts to what we went over last week. Each setting are things you will work with all the time. Depending on your preference.

ISO is your camera's sensitivity to light. The range of your ISO depends on your camera. ISO's range from 100 all the way to 12,800. The amount of light that is available to shoot with will determine your ISO. The greater amount of light there is the lower your ISO should be. The less amount of light there is the higher your ISO should be. Often times when shooting outside in the sun you would want your ISO to be around 200. If you are shooting indoors in low light or shooting in the evening you would want your ISO to be around 500. Keep in mind, the higher your ISO the more likely you will have noise in your photos. This is based of your camera as well. Remember to experiment with the full range of your ISO, not just 200 and 500.

White balance is the way in which your camera processes the color and light. Some choose to set their white balance to auto. I prefer to change my white balance based on the light source that I'm working with. For example, shooting in direct sunlight, in the shade, on a cloudy day, or in fluorescent light will each require a different white balance setting. Review your camera manual and experiment with different white balance settings. This will help you figure out which setting your prefer.

Reading the light is tricky like reading your meter. There is no one thing that you can do other then practice to better understand this concept. There are certain lighting directions to understand which will hopefully help, I can only provide examples that I often use. Back light, side light and direct light are very general concepts of light direction. The best light to shoot in is outdoors at either dusk or dawn, this is the gold hour, where the light is all golden and glowy. When shooting during the golden hour you can shoot with either three of the light directions listed above. Ovoid shooting mid day where the sun is directly over you. The light is too harsh, will leave shadows, and nobody usually wants to open their eyes.
   { Example of direct light. (photo taken by Husband) }              { Example of back light.}

Until next time:
- Start practicing and changing your ISO to determine your camera ISO range. Practice outside, inside, in low lighting, and in well lit areas. Determine how high you can set your ISO before you run into too much noise.
- Review your camera manual and experiment with different white balance settings. This will help you figure out which setting your prefer. Practice in sun light, in the shade, in cloudy weather, and in fluorescent light.
- Experiment with different light directions. Direct, back and side lighting. Remember to be open to trying different things not mentioned here. Everyone one has a different photography style, try different things to find your own.
- Practice, Practice, Practice.

Have questions? I would love hear them. 
Leave them in the comment section below, or shoot me an email.
Share with us your photography tips. 
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  1. I am just learning about all this as I recently found my husband camera hidden in a box! I was so excited to inherit something so fun!

    1. Hi Elizabeth! Thanks for stopping by, I hope you're enjoying your journey in photography. It's such a challenging and rewarding hobby. Best of luck!


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