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4 Camera Settings you NEED to master as a photographer

Each one of these settings will take you to the next level as a photographer. I would advise you learn one by one, as learning them together can be overwhelming. Once you have learnt them all you can see how they work together. You will be well on your way to becoming a pro. In this video I go into more depth on how to master each one of these settings and properly use them.

Shutter Speed

Shutter speed unlocks so much potential for your creativity, and your ability to capture different mediums effectively. The shutter speed is as it says in the name; the speed the shutter closes. Without getting too technical, your camera records the photons over the period of time the shutter is open for. So the longer your shutter is open the more light will get in.

To capture something moving fast you will need a quick shutter speed eg 1/4000s. Something like running water(as pictured below), a flying bird etc etc. Then with a slow shutter speed you can get more creative and try out something like night photography or long exposures.


Aperture was probably my favourite setting to learn when I first started out. You can get so creative with it, and it completely transforms the way your photos look. Like shutter speed, aperture also controls the exposure of your image. It does this in a different way. There is an opening in your lens which gets smaller or larger depending on what aperture you are using. Smaller hole- less light, larger hole- more light. Where this can get confusing (I know it confused me when I started) is that the lower the f number so like f4 the larger the hole, the higher the f number like f22 , the smaller the hole.

With the more technical aspect of aperture covered, the main difference you will see when playing with aperture is depth of field. What do I mean by depth of field? The depth of field is the amount of the photo that is in focus. So you know when you see those professional portraits with a blurred background, sharp subject? They're using a low f number, maybe something like f2.8 to get that effect. It doesn't stop there either. You can blur foregrounds, anything you like.

One of the more advanced and harder to grasp topics within aperture is diffraction. A lot of people believe they will have a sharp photo everywhere if they use a high f number like f22 for their shots. This isn't the case. I don't want to go too much into detail about this, I could write a whole other blog on it. For those of you that are interested, there's a great article on it here.


ISO is often neglected by people learning photography. I get it, I did the same. Just stick ISO in auto and you're good. Well, not all the time. Learning about ISO and then applying it to your own work, will make you a much better photographer.

ISO is actually one of the more simple aspects of the photographer triad (ISO, Shutter Speed and Aperture). Just think of the ISO dial as a volume knob. The higher you turn it up, the more bright your images will become, and the more noisy too.

What do I mean by noise? Noise is that grainy effect you can get on your images. A lot of photographers like to shoot at the lowest possible ISO, thats one of the reasons they lug tripods everywhere (you'll understand why that is even more when you know about the triad). I don't want to preach that to you, some people like the noisy grainy effect in their photos. So play around with it. Maybe you will like it. Every photographer is entitled to their own style and creative vision.

This image (above) was shot with a high ISO (4000) you can see the grainy, noisy effect.

This image was shot with a low ISO (100).


The histogram, is another area of photography which can be neglected by people just starting out. I know I did! Wish I hadn't though. The histogram is so useful. Not just in taking the image, also in post processing. There will be a way of viewing your histogram on your camera, always do this while you are shooting. You may think you have exposed the image well, but the histogram knows best.

So what is a good histogram I hear you ask? Let's take a look.

The above graph on the right is generally what is accepted as a good histogram. It isn't that simple however. Click here for more information on histograms and how to master them.

Thank you for reading, and if you have any questions don't hesitate to get in contact through my facebook group here.


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