Photo Friday: What is this for?

Photo Friday
Photo Fridays are brought to you by Brandon Queen Photography.

What is it and how does it all work?


Now we want to learn about three important functions of a digital camera.  They are shutter speed, aperture, and ISO. Each of these settings act together to determine how bright or dark your photo is, or exposure. Think of them as a triangle and the foundation of exposure. Having knowledge of these functions can help you creating stunning photos!

Shutter Speed

The shutter speed is simply the length of time that the light hits the film or sensor allowing the image to be recorded. Each variation in speed (much the same as the aperture variations) is known as a “stop.” A faster shutter speed gives less more time to hit the sensor. A slower shutter speed gives light more time. Slower shutter speeds can create blurry or noisy photos but can capture images in low light. Faster shutter speeds have the ability to freeze time, but require a lot of light to be useful.


The aperture is like the iris of the eye. When the aperture is very small, you will get a sharper focus and more depth of field– near and far things in the scene will tend to be sharper. This is because the smaller circle is cutting down on the “confusion” caused by the countless overlapping circles of light being focused on the film or other light sensitive surface in the camera. The down side is that because the iris is smaller, less light is getting to the sensor, and you need a longer exposure to get a good image. When the aperture is larger, you can get a good image with a faster shutter speed, but sharpness and depth of field may suffer a little. The “circles of confusion” are larger, because the  aperture is larger.



In very basic terms, ISO is the level of sensitivity of your camera to available light. The lower the ISO number, the less sensitive it is to the light, while a higher ISO number increases the sensitivity of your camera. The component within your camera that can change sensitivity is called “image sensor” or simply “sensor”. It is the most important (and most expensive) part of a camera and it is responsible for gathering light and transforming it into an image. With increased sensitivity, your camera sensor can capture images in low-light environments without having to use a flash. But higher sensitivity comes at an expense – it adds grain or “noise” to the pictures.

White Balance

White balance is not part of the “triangle” but has a big impact on your picture. It is basically a way to “measure” the temperature (color) of light and to “balance” out the colors of your photography for the desired results.

Ideally, the goal of a conventional photograph is to attain an ideal White Balance where the white color is as close to true, neutral white as possible and all of the colors in your image are “true to life.”

ISO is set to 100 which is good for out door shots on a sunny and part cloudy day.

In Focus Flower: Notice how the flower is in focus and the background is extremely blurred out. That is due to a large aperture.

A small aperture allows for a large depth of field. Notice most of the flowers appear in focus.


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