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ISO…Indoors | PhotoMommas


Well, it has been awhile and for that I apologize.  This time of year is a bit slower in regards to shooting, but I find myself just as busy trying to prepare for the coming season.  The joys of updating our website (that hasn’t been touched since 2007), preparing for a new CPD blog, taxes, packaging, organization, finalizing albums and new products, the list, seriously, goes on and on. ;)  Below are two pictures: 1) a moment in Colorado that screams winter…with some rather nice scenery, I might add. 2) followed with a hint of spring…could it be?  I am  beyond ready for more of this to start showing it’s pretty face…yay!  I had to share this recent find from outside our back door.

Now, for the real reason for this post… ;)

The ISO is your camera’s sensitivity to light.  *The brighter the situation the lower the ISO, the darker the situation the higher the ISO.* In other words, it is important because it gives you flexibility when your lighting source changes.  For example, below I had my point-n-shoot flash turned off and my ISO at 100.  Obviously, it is daylight outside, but I’m indoors vs. being outdoors.  This image is, obviously, painful to look at…blurry, blurry–instant headache…sorry.  There was not enough light in the office for me to shoot at an ISO of 100.  However, if I had been outdoors on a sunny day then an ISO of 100 would have been excellent.

The image below was taken right after the first one, but I bumped the ISO up to 400 this time…amazing difference.  * I promise our dog, Roscoe, is sleeping in the background– ;)–my apologies for the messy office and my messy hair…eek!

The final image was moved to an ISO of 800 just to see the difference.  The shadows on my face are not as dark as in the ISO 400 image.  Other than that…not a lot of difference–at least, not that you can see.  The problem with bumping your ISO to higher numbers is that it causes noise (grainy looking blahs) in your image giving your image a “softer” look without strong detail.

I would have been content with my ISO settings at 400 indoors during decent daylight hours.  If you have excellent light in your home you may find that you can shoot below 400.  It’s a matter of trial and error until it starts to click for you.

Where can you find your ISO settings?

-For point-n-shooters…you have to set your camera to program and go to your function settings.  You can also go to program, leave your ISO on auto and just turn off your flash.  The camera works pretty well for you.  However, I would encourage you to familiarize yourself a bit with how to change the settings in the program (manual) mode.

-For those of you with Canon Rebels and up, you will need to set your camera to M (manual)…you should have an ISO button (on the top or back of your camera) or you can find your ISO settings in your menu.  It may take a bit more playing before you see first time results because DSLR cameras have more to work with in regards to your settings.  So, give it time before you get frustrated.

And, finally…why should you turn off your flash?  Take a look below…my face is exposed pretty well, but the background is blah.  I do realize with little ones that there is definitely a need for a flash indoors when your available light is poor, but once you head outdoors (or it is a bright-sunshiny day for indoors)…take advantage of the notes above with your little ones.  You will be pleased with what you see…

Something to help you remember the numbers with ISO…think back to your film days.  Do you remember buying 100 speed, 200 speed, 400 speed film?  Wow!  I do…  Do you remember which speed you had to use during certain times?  See if the info below sparks your memory:

100 speed (portrait shooting w/out flash-still images-good light) = 100 ISO (excellent light-not a lot of movement)

200 speed (your average shooting-good with low-light/flash usage-some movement) = 200 ISO (good light-some activity)

400 speed (lower light situations/outdoor sporting events) = 400 ISO (lower light situations/outdoor sporting events)

The film went up in number for low light/lots of action…the same is true for your ISO.  Just be careful, the higher you go the grainier it will become.  The lower you go the more light you need.  Good luck!!!

*PS-sorry for ALL of the pics of me.  I thought a still subject would be more beneficial for explaining this one. ;)

John G. - Great lesson Mel! This will be nice for Alexa and me as we continue learning about our new DSLR. Thanks -JohnApril 5, 2010 – 12:36 pm

Shelly - So that’ how ISO works! Huh? Just kidding:) BUT that was a great way of explaining it:) Sending this link to some of my family that just asked about that!March 15, 2010 – 11:37 am

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