Refreshing My Camera Control Knowledge
Now that I’m back in college I am constantly being refreshed with content I have previously learned, and thought I mastered. This is my first ever photojournalism class and I don’t think I have ever been so excited about a class. In this class I will finally get to culminate my two loves journalism and photography, but first, a refresher.
Our first shooting assignment and I found myself already learning new things that I honestly thought I had all figured out. This assignment was all about the camera and learning its functions, something essential to all photographers. I knew most of what was presented in class, ISO, aperture, and shutter speed, but was shocked at my lack of knowledge on reciprocity. Reciprocity is the balance between the aperture and the shutter speed. Once you have a good exposure and you decide to open up your lens more (lower aperture), then you have to also raise your shutter speed to compensate for the extra light being let in. Learning about how to control my numbers is what really changed how I shoot. Oh, and did I mention I was holding my camera wrong when I turned to shoot vertically? That’s embarrassing.
After finishing this assignment, I had a better grasp on my camera (literally) and got a chance to produce some images to show what I learned. So take a look and have a nice refresher yourself as I review some of the topics below!
There are four factors to controlling your exposure and the first one you should set is your ISO, which controls the cameras sensitivity to light. The ISO you set will depend on the available light where you are shooting. The low numbers, 100, 200, 400, will be for bright situations and the high numbers, 800,1600, 3200, 6400, are for dim or dark settings. Just remember when setting your ISO that after 1600 you might start to get a bit of noise or grain in your images.
The second setting you should set before shooting is your aperture or f/stop, which determines how much light your lens will let into your camera. The lower the aperture the more light your lens will let in. My camera opens to 1.8 when the lens is all the way open and letting maximum light in. The standard f-stops are f/2, f/2.8, f/4, f/5.6, f/8, f/11, f/16, f/22. When the lens is all the way closed, or at its highest aperture (f-stop) it is letting the least amount of light in. Besides light the aperture also controls depth of field or what is in focus in the photo. A low f-stop like f/2.8 will give you a narrow depth of field allowing you to decide what is in focus. At a high f/stop like f/11 you will have a wide depth of field allowing the entire image to be clear and sharp.
The final function you want to set on your camera is the shutter speed. Now when doing this it is important to think about what you are shooting and how much action is involved, but also your meter. The shutter speed controls how long you let light into the camera for or how long your exposure is. The shorter the exposure (the higher shutter speed) allows you to stop action but also lets less light in. A low shutter speed will allow more light in because the shutter of the camera is open for longer. This however makes it less likely to get clear action shots. Some cool shots can be done with low shutter speeds such as blurring and panning action. The standard shutter speeds are ½, ¼, 1/8, 1/15, 1/30 (blurred action), 1/60, 1/125, 1/250, 1/500 (stop action), 1/1000.