So your camera- that baby you’ve been dreaming about for a while now- just landed? You are so excited that it is here, but suddenly you just don’t know what to do with it. The manual explains how to assemble everything- and you have done that- but you bought the camera to take photos, not to put together.

Well, a lot of learning will happen as you go by, but let this article set you on your way with basic settings.

Understanding Settings

The first thing you need to understand is that photography is all about playing with light. You play with light to make some objects prominent, to capture moods, and so many other things. You SET your camera to do all these things.

The main settings you work with to achieve these things are:

  • Shutter Speed– This is the amount of time that you let the image sensor remain exposed to light. To understand this, look at an object and try to blink intentionally. You can decide to blink slowly or fast; that’s how shutter speed operates.

Shutter speed usually appears as 1/30, 1/60, 1/80 and so on within the settings panel. Note that 1/80 is a faster speed than 1/30

  • ISO– This is how sensitive the image sensor is. Think of two people staring at a bright computer screen. The one who feels the light is too much has a sensitive ‘sensor’ and vice versa. ISO appears as the numbers 100, 200, 400, 800 and so on when you select to adjust it. 100 is the number for the lowest sensitivity.
  • Aperture– Remember learning in school about how the size of the eye’s pupil increases and/or decreases in varying light intensities. That is how the aperture operates. The aperture appears as the f-stop number, ranging from one to around 30.

Safety Tip: The above settings work in tandem, and are most controllable in manual mode. Whenever you need to take a photo immediately but cannot harmonize them, use the Automatic mode.

Now that the settings are clear, here’s how to use them in actual photography. At all times, you should try to keep the ISO as low as possible. Play little with the aperture and work freely with the shutter speed.

In Low Lighting

Increase the ISO and decrease the shutter speed.

In Well-Lit Places

Decrease the ISO all the way down and increase the shutter speed accordingly.

The aperture determines how much area of the frame is in frames (appears clear). A small aperture helps you focus on one subject.