Easily Understand ISO and Light Sensitivity

Easily Understand ISO and Light Sensitivity In the days of film cameras, ISO related to film speed. Film had a different number on it, based on how sensitive it was to light. In a digital camera, it serves the same function, but instead refers to how sensitive your camera’s sensor will be to light. Cameras have come a long way in recent years, and sensors are better at handling dark situations than they’ve ever been. But it’s still very important to understand how ISO works, and what effect changing it will have on your images. I always set my ISO first. The light available depends on the setting. If I’m inside, or outside, in a dark reception hall or a bright studio, the light that I will be able to use varies. Most cameras start at ISO 50 or 100. The number always doubles, for example, from 100 to 200, and so on. The lower the number, the clearer your image will be. The higher the number, the more grain, or noise your image will have. Grainy images often seem fuzzy, especially when you zoom in. The details are obscured by the noise, because your sensor has to work extra hard. Remember the glass of water in my post about exposure? Imagine that glass of water again. At ISO 50 or 100, the water is clear, and pure, without any grain. With each increase in ISO, imagine sprinkling a bit of sand into the water. The more sand, the less clear the water. The sand is how grainy your image is. Grain reduces the overall quality of your image. The lowest ISO setting is best... Read More

What Is Exposure Anyway?

What Is Exposure Anyway? Have you ever tried to explain a simple idea to a friend only to find yourself at a loss for words? Exposure is a concept that does that to a lot of people. From a technical standpoint, exposure is the amount of light your camera’s sensor captures when an image is taken. The question of what is correct exposure, though, is less technical, and more of the opinion of the photographer. It’s based on the type of image you want to create. A correct exposure is not too bright and not too dark, and that will be dependent on the result you want, not on any technical definition. A correct exposure is when the photograph looks the way the photographer intended it to look, which typically means not too bright (overexposed) and not too dark (underexposed).   It’s important to learn how to control your camera’s exposure manually, because your camera can’t read your mind. If you’re seeking a specific look, whether it’s a brighter image, or a darker one, you’ll have to be able to use your settings to ensure your camera knows what you’re looking for.     Water as a metaphor Consider exposure like a full glass of water. When it’s filled correctly, it’s not overflowing and it’s not under filled; it’s just right.   There are two ways to fill the glass: You can turn the faucet on full blast, for a short period of time. As long as you turn the faucet back off before the glass overflows, you’ll have a perfectly full glass. Or, you can turn the faucet on to a slight trickle,... Read More

Something is missing in your portraits and you know it! (NEW COURSE COMING SOON!)

Something is missing in your portraits and you know it! (NEW COURSE  COMING SOON!) Something is missing in your portraits and you know it! In this video I explain the difference between PRO quality Portraits and Amateur snapshots. I just put the finishing touches on my brand new course Shoot STUNNING Natural Light Portraits! BONUS: To one person who shares the video on Facebook I’ll give away a free membership to the new course. Enjoy!   In this course I teach the 3 Secret formulas for creating professional quality portraits using only natural light. Once I learned these formulas I was able to start charging money for my portraits and people started flying me around the world to photograph them. It could be the same for you! The course will be launching in December to the public AND I’m so excited about it that I’ve decided to do something crazy! I’m going to give away 3 actual lessons from the course for FREE before it comes out! CLICK HERE to sign up to get the first 3 lessons as soon as they are available. CLICK HERE to claim your access to the 3 free lessons. (I’ll email the link to the videos as soon as they go live on Dec... Read More

How to Download Your Memory Cards

How to Download Your Memory Cards You’ve taken your photos, and now you’ve got to do something with them. Your first step will be to get the digital photo files off the memory card inside your camera to your computer. There are three* ways to do this, and they’ll depend on your camera, your computer and your comfort level with using different methods available to you. USB Cable Your camera came with a cable, and downloading your photos can be as simple as plugging it into your computer’s USB port, and opening the folder which will appear as a removable disk. You can then easily drag and drop the files to wherever you’d like to save them. The nice thing about this method is you don’t have to remove the memory card at all – which lowers the chances you’ll accidentally damage it or your camera’s card slot. Memory Card Slot Depending on the model of your camera, and the type of computer or laptop you’re using, you might be able to remove the memory card from your camera, and insert it into the correlating slot on your computer. If you can use this option, it’s a great one especially if you’re headed away on vacation, because it reduces the amount of cables, cords and gadgets you need to bring along. Memory Card Readers A memory card reader is affordable and handy. Some readers have the ability to read many different types of cards, and others are built to read many of the same type of card. If you like to fill up a few cards before you download your photos, a memory card reader... Read More

Back Button Focus: The Secret to Crisp Photos Every Time

Back Button Focus: The Secret to Crisp Photos Every Time One of the most important buttons on your camera is often one that many people new to using a DSLR have never heard of, but it’s your secret to crisp, beautiful photos, every time. What Is Back Button Focus? On most cameras, the shutter button is how you auto focus – you push the button down halfway, it focuses on your subject, and then you push down all the way to take your photo. You’ve probably noticed that this works well enough in situations where you have enough light, where your subject isn’t moving, or where there isn’t any risk anyone (or anything) else will move into your frame. But you have to repeat the process for each photo you take – pushing down the shutter button, waiting for the light and beep that tells you the image is in focus, and then taking your photo. And as you’ve probably experienced, if your finger slips, you either lose focus, or you take the photo before you’re ready. Back button focus moves focusing to a separate button, leaving taking the photo the only job your shutter button has to do. Why Does That Matter? Back button focusing means you have greater control over the focus, allowing you to set your focus and then lock it in. Once locked, you can move around your subject (as long as you remain the same distance away), or you can take photos of one particular person in a group of people, without worrying that the focus will wind up resetting itself to a different face (or someone’s shoulder, or hand, or chin!) You’ll get... Read More