When I picked up my first camera, I knew I had a lot to learn. It was overwhelming to think about where to start. In this blog, I’m breaking down the basics on manual mode settings (F-stop, ISO, and Shutter Speed) to give you the confidence you need and help with some of that overwhelm you may feel in picking up your first camera.
F-stop or aperture setting refers to how open your lens is. The wider the aperture, the more light it lets in and the brighter the resulting exposure. Aperture is also responsible for controlling the depth of field – the amount of your image that is in focus. The larger the aperture, the smaller the depth of field.
I like to set my F-stop first, then my ISO and finally my shutter speed. A good rule of thumb is the lower your F-stop, the larger your aperture (the hole inside your lens) The Lower F = more light in.
ISO controls your camera’s sensitivity to light. By adjusting the ISO, you can increase your camera’s light sensitivity which will, in turn, give you a brighter image. Say you’re shooting at night and your shots keep turning out too dark. If you’re working in Manual mode, you can boost your ISO – and your images will instantly brighten up.
Shutter speed is essentially the exposure time of an image; that is, how long the shutter stays open to allow light to hit the sensor. The faster the shutter speed, the less light that hits the camera sensor and the darker the final image. I like to keep my shutter speed at at least 1/2x lens focal length:
– 50mm lens 1/100+
-100mm lens 1/200+
If your image is too dark: Try lowering your F-stop, increasing your ISO and decreasing your Shutter Speed. You may need to adjust one or all three of these at a time to get the look you want.
If your image is too bright: Try increasing your F-stop, decreasing ISO and increasing your Shutter Speed. I know how frustrating it can be to remember how these settings work together. I’m here to help. If you’re interested in learning more about Manual mode and taking your knowledge one step further, join The Simplifying Manual Mode Course!