We already know the three basic elements of our camera that affect the exposure. In this article, we are going to discuss the effect of each element, how they are going to affect our images and the pro and cons of the different settings.
An aperture is the opening of our lens that can be adjusted to change the diameter of the opening. Given that there are many combinations of aperture and shutter speed setting that will give us correct exposure, what aperture are we going to use to give us best result? Are all apertures giving us same result besides affecting faster or slower shutter speed? The answer is definitely no. Let’s look at the effect of aperture setting:
The larger aperture like F2.8 besides giving a lot of light to go through the lens, it has a very nice effect of creating shallow depth of field that allows us to isolate the main subject and make it stand out from the background. Large apertures are typically used in portrait photography when we want to make the person very sharp against the blurry background.
On the other hand, the small aperture like F16, F22 or smaller will give us more depth of field, meaning more area or distance behind or in front of the focus point will appear in focus or sharp. This is typically desired in landscape photography where we would like to see both foreground and background clearly.
Shutter speed is the time duration of opening and closing of the shutter. How does it affect the image? Well, a fast shutter speed like 1/400 of a second has the ability to freeze the moment. For wild life or animal photography, in order to achieve sharp images, the shutter speed has to be fast due to the fast moving subject. Similarly for sport photography, fast shutter speed has to be used if sharp image is the priority. On the other hand, slow shutter speed sometime is more desired as slightly blur image shows the speed, the motion of the subject better than sharp images.
Slow shutter speed sometime can be used to create artistic images to show the mood, the atmosphere. For water scene like waterfall or wave, slow shutter speed that produce silky, misty water surface are worth to try out.
Does ISO affect the quality of the images? The answer is definitely yes. That is because although high ISO allow us to take images under low light situation, there is a side effect of producing noise in the image that often are not desired. Higher ISO will produce more noise than low ISO. It is good practice to test out the high ISO image quality of your camera. However, it is better to get a slightly noisy image than a blur image so crank up the ISO if necessary. There are few photography software like lightroom or neatimage that can reduce the noise in your images while maintain certain level of details and quality.