How Manual Settings Work On Your Camera | Photographs by Teresa
How Manual Settings Work On Your Camera by Photographs by Teresa. Including tips for wedding and engagement photographers. Browse the blog or click through for more photography tips #camerasettings #cameratips #photographytips #tipsforphotographers

June 11, 2020

How Manual Settings Work On Your Camera


Wanting to get into photography?

Or maybe you have a dream to become a photographer, and use it as your livelihood?

First off, let me say YES. DO IT! There’s nothing better (but I’m biased) than having a piece of equipment that you know how to use, and use well. And one that captures memories in a single shutter. Okay so let’s start with that. What even is a shutter?


Shutter vs. Aperture vs. ISO

I’m not a very tech-y person. It’s just not my vibe or the way that I learn, so I’m going to try my best to stay away from being super tech-y word-wise and explain it as a human being haha! Let’s get to it:


Essentially shutter is the amount of time light is allowed within the camera sensor. It is the sound you hear when you click the button. And here’s how it works in your camera settings: the slower the shutter speed, the more light that comes in. The faster, the less light that comes in. So a slow shutter speed would be: 1/10 and a fast shutter speed would be 1/8000. Night photography requires a slow shutter speed and a tripod. If you try to have a slow shutter speed without a tripod, that’s what causes the photo to be blurry. So a still camera won’t reveal blur. Many times in full sunlight, you will have a very fast shutter speed (1/8000).


Aperture is a hole within your lens that allows light to come into the camera body. It can sound confusing, but it really isn’t. The aperture you’ll see talked about as F stops which will appear in your camera. And this is what controls the blur in your photos (known as depth of field). The smaller your f stop, the depth of field is larger (more blur). If the f stop is large, your depth of field is small (less blur). So let’s say you have an f stop of 2 (f2), then you will have a lot of blur. If you have a depth of field that’s f11, you will hardly have any blur and pretty much everything will be clear. f11 would be great for landscape photography. Where f2 is great for portrait photography.


ISO is essentially your camera’s sensitivity to light. It’s the last thing to adjust once your shutter speed and aperture have been adjusted. The way it works is if you are in a very bright setting, your ISO will be low (i.e. 100). If you’re in a really dark setting, your ISO will probably need to be higher, which will be more around 1,000-4,000. Here’s the catch: the higher your ISO is, the grainer your photos will get. Obviously it depends on the camera you have. That’s why I try not to make my ISO too high unless I absolutely have to. And that’s also when flash comes into play.

So how do these all work together?

Taking all of these calculations together, you create photo magic. So let’s say it’s a really really sunny day out. I might have my shutter speed at 1/8000 (because more light situations = higher shutter speed). Then I would have my aperture at f2 (because the lower the aperture, the more light that comes in). Then if it’s super sunny, I would have my ISO at 80-100.

If it’s an indoor space with lower light, I might have my shutter speed at 1/250, aperture at f2, and ISO at 1200.

Metering helps a lot, and every camera has it, to tell you how close you are to correctly exposing your camera.

I try not to lower my shutter more than 1/250. My personal style of photography is very candid, fast movements, so if I have the shutter lower, I will begin to see a blur. I try not to have an f-stop much higher than f2 for portraits because f2 creates a blur and has an artistic look that brings my wedding photos to the next level. And I try not to go too high up in ISO, but this is situational depending on your camera.

Thank you for coming to this crash manual settings course 🙂 Tune in next week!


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