Basic Camera Settings
The aperture of a camera can best be compared to the pupil of your eye. The lower the f-stop, the wider the aperture is. The “pupil” lets in more light, and more detail. This means you can have a higher shutter speed without the photo being blurry. The aperture also controls the depth of field. Objects that are closer will be in focus, while the background will be blurred out. The lower the f-stop, the more in focus the subject will be, and the blurrier the background will be. When the f-stop is higher, the whole photo will be in focus and a more detailed background will be visible. It is best to pair a slower shutter speed with a higher f-stop because the “pupil” will be smaller and slower shutter speed allows more time for light to travel through.
Here is a link to a YouTube video explaining aperture.
The shutter speed is like the blink of an eye. The camera’s shutter opens and closes like your eye blinks. The shutter speed can be slow, meaning the object can be blurred, or it can be fast to freeze motion. It is best to use a tripod for shutter speeds under 1/250 in order to help keep the photo in focus.
Here is the link to an article explaining how to use the proper shutter speed.
The ISO controls how much detail, or “noise”, is allowed in a photo. Think of it like the blinds in your living room. They can be adjusted to allow dimmer and or brighter light. A low ISO is not necessarily a bad thing, especially when paired with the right shutter speed and f-stop. Personally, I like to shoot in lower ISO because it keeps more detail than if you shoot in a higher ISO when the light is adjusted in Photoshop or Lightroom. It can be tricky to balance the ISO, f-stop, and shutter speed to find the perfect combination and it does take a lot of practice, especially because there are a lot of factors such as the daylight, shadows, or even colors in the subject you are trying to take a photo of.
In the two photos shown above, both have a low ISO of 200. I personally choose to shoot with a lower ISO (in this situation I should have turned it up to about 250 or 320) in most situations because when edited in Lightroom, the photo on the right will turn out better and keep more detail once the lighting is adjusted. However, if the environment is already very dark, I will make the ISO higher to keep more detail. Again, it takes a lot of practice to get the combinations right in manual mode.
Here is a link to a great YouTube video explaining ISO.
The dynamic range of the camera can be explained in the simplest terms of shadows and highlights, or black and white. In a photo where the highlights are blown out, the sky may turn white but the shadows are lighter and you can see the detail in the darker parts of the photo. In photos where the shadows are very dark, it can be hard to see detail of the subject.
Here is a link to an article explaining dynamic range.