007: Exposure Triangle pt3 ISO

007: Exposure Triangle Pt3 ISO


In Todays Episode You Will Learn:

  • What ISO stands for
  • How to visualize how ISO works
  • How your sensors sensitivity affects your images
  • Why you don't want to "Burn your steak"
  • What Grain is
  • What Grain has to do with your ISO
  • The balance between grain and capturing the moment. 
  • Why high ISO performance is important
  • When shooting at a lower ISO is ideal
  • Why you shouldn't just set your ISO to a high number to set it and forget it
  • What Latitude is and how ISO affects it
  • How to change your ISO if you want a shallow depth of field
  • Why increasing your ISO can affect print quality
  • Why you didn't have the same flexibility with ISO with film as you do with digital
  • How to get the cleanest image
  • We share examples of High ISO shots that saved the day
TOP: ISO 1250 with Off camera flash  BOTTOM: ISO 8000 no Off camera flash

TOP: ISO 1250 with Off camera flash

BOTTOM: ISO 8000 no Off camera flash

The bottom photo is nowhere near as well exposed as the top photo but the point here is that the moment will always win. The couple are laughing together and having a great time. Even though the off camera flash made traditional photos more compelling, don't be scared of boosting your ISO to get the shot!

Top: ISO 800
Bottom: ISO 6400

As Promised.

ISO 8000

ISO 8000


ISO is one part of the very important exposure triangle that we have been chatting about the last few weeks; ISO in its essence is the sensitivity of the digital sensor and how much light it will allow the sensors to create a digital negative from. The lower the ISO (ISO 100/200/400) the less light, and the higher the ISO (1600/3200/6400) the more light it will allow. 

As you introduce higher ISO sensitivities to the camera while photographing, you also introduce a couple of potential risks: the possibility of more grain, the possibility of , overexposing the image beyond use. If you keep your ISO too low, it might return completely black images. 


When I am shooting indoors without any really good light coming from windows, we generally start our ISO at 1000 to get a feel. From there I will adjust until I get it JUST right. 

Weekly Lesson:

As you become more comfortable with photographing different lighting situations, try sitting in rooms and guessing what you think the Aperture, ISO, and shutter speed. Double check with your camera, write it down and then try again in another room. Eventually you will become better at "spot checking" your exposure. 

And most importantly, don't forget to have FUN. Photography, even if you're a beginner, is all about having FUN.

If you have any questions Feel free to email us today at


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