iso in photography

ISO In Photography

ISO In Photography

ISO in photography is a camera’s sensitivity to light.

Along with aperture, and shutter speed, ISO makes up the exposure of an image.

What Do The Numbers On Your Camera Mean?

The International Organization for Standardization applies a standard value to ISO settings. This means that different camera companies are using the same standards.

In the days of film, depending on what film was used, photographers were locked into what was called ASA. Film had sensitivity values of ASA 50, 100, 200, 400, 800 and 1600.

Today with digital cameras, a photographer can easily toggle between different sensitivities.  Now called ISO!

What Do The Numbers On Your Camera Do?

With ISO, the sensitivity to light is doubling with each full stop.

Example: ISO 400 is two times more sensitive to light than ISO 200, and four times more sensitive to light than 100.

ISO – Noise & Grain

The higher you raise your ISO, the more digital noise and grain you get on your image.

Here’s a tip! For higher quality images, shoot with the lowest ISO you can.

Who Cares About Noise

Your clients do. Would you rather be given a grainy image or a clean image?

Some photographers don’t care at all about this. In street photography, for example, they will intentionally shoot with a higher ISO for a grainy look.

The noise from shooting with high ISO settings can give a digital photo a gritty look, or possibly old school film looks.

The Latest Cameras & ISO

Many photographers use “P-Mode” (Program Mode) while shooting. This means you are allowing the camera to choose the exposure settings for you. It will do its very best and choose an ISO for you!

This could work. Sometimes! Cameras are getting better at metering light, and selecting usable settings.

New cameras are pushing the limits of ISO. High ISO values are possible without all the noise.

Also, cameras are getting much better at choosing exposure settings for you, but still, none of them come close to competing against a well-informed, skilled photographer, like yourself!