Aperture, ISO, and Shutter Speed

Hello again!

Before I can begin to show photos and tell you what settings I use for my photos, I need to explain the fundamentals of photography and the camera.

Three very important things are exactly what is the title of this post: aperture, ISO, and shutter speed. I’m going to start off easy and explain shutter speed first.



This is some nice photos I found off of Photos By Passy that give a better visual to what I’m talking about. Shutter speed is a huge part in taking good photos. Slower speeds allow photographers to capture night photos of the stars and even cars driving along the roads. Fast shutter speeds create those action shots seen in sport magazines, wildlife magazines, or online sport and wildlife websites.

The top photo is suggested shutter speeds for different subjects, which is extremely helpful. The second gives a reference on which shutter speeds tend to be fast or slow. Notice how several speeds have 1’s that sit on top of larger numbers. So 1/500 is 1/500th of a second and that is crazy fast. Then once you get a slower speed where 1 doesn’t sit above a number starts counting as seconds. Now with a little better understanding of shutter speed, let me move on to aperture.


This image came from The Odyssey Online and is super straight forward. The f-numbers seen under the aperture images are called f-stops and has a very complicated explanation that can easily be understood by knowing that the lower the f-stop, the bigger the aperture and vice versa. But, as this image shows, the bigger the aperture, the shallower the depth of field (what the camera sees in focus).

Shallow DOF can make photography in darker locations difficult since it focuses on such a finite area. A good idea would be to play around with a middle aperture setting and a shutter speed slower than what you would usually use to get a deeper DOF.

I learned the hard way last night that night photography is not easy with only a small area showing up in focus.

Now since we’ve touched briefly on aperture, let’s move to ISO, which is a little more complicated (I’m still figuring it out myself, but Google is a beautiful place to learn).


I found this at Lahowind and it helped me a little so I can help you just enough. ISO is the most important component of a camera because it is what gathers light to produce an image on the camera. If I took a photo of something while it was dark and used a low ISO, nothing would show up on the screen after taking the image, but if I went outside on a very sunny day and used the same low ISO, the photo would show up (probably with a few minor tweaks between the shutter speed and the aperture).

With all three of these elements and learning how to use them together, you can take photos that look like this (or probably better):

Pujii the snow leopard in Big Cat Country at the St. Louis Zoo in Missouri. Photo by Sydney Rogers [f/20, 1/125 exposure, ISO 1600, focal 300mm, no flash]
You can see how using the higher ISO put a grain to the photo which could have been fixed had I known at the time to bring it down a little lower. I also should have changed my aperture one f-stop down. The shutter speed would have also been adjusted had I known what I was doing. I wonder what it would have looked like then!

Sadly, I don’t have much more to share, but I hope you learned a little bit about the functions of a camera. It’s not easy explaining how all three work together without trial and error to see what works best with your camera.

Thank you for reading and I hope to hear about you guys going out and playing around with aperture, shutter speed, and ISO! If you have any tips or even questions, please share!

Happy blogging!































2 thoughts on “Aperture, ISO, and Shutter Speed

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s