Flashless low-light photos

This is a good article explaining the ISO setting on many digital cameras, which explains why my indoor shots usually look pretty bad. (I *still* don’t know what ISO stands for, unless it’s a generic reference to the international standards body).

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0 Responses to Flashless low-light photos

  1. Steve says:

    ISO is a reference to the International Standards Organization. You may also see film speed called ASA (American Standards Asssociation). Obviously it’s just an approximation in the digital world, but it means the same thing to photographers.

    You can change the amount of light collected by your (film|sensor) by tweaking three knobs: f/stop, shutter speed or ISO speed.

    Your f/stop setting controls depth of field, as well. If you want a nice, blurry background, go with the lowest f/stop your camera and lens provides. If you want to expose both the subject and the background, you need a higher f/stop, probably at least f/8.

    (The f/stop is a measure of how wide the opening of the lens is. High f/stop = tiny opening = larger depth of field = less light per unit time.)

    Shutter speed is mostly affected by how steady you can hold the camera and if your subject is likely to move. A tripod and no live subjects helps a lot here.

    ISO is the easiest since the only affect on the photograph is usually more noise at higher ISO settings. This is generally true for film, too, though it isn’t as bad and you can’t really change on-the-fly since the ISO speed is determined by the film you buy.