In this day and age of automatic controls there’s no need to understand how a camera works to get very acceptable results but to get exceptional results and to really enjoy the concept of taking photographs an understanding of the controls and ways of setting the camera up are a huge advantage so I’m going to attempt to help explain some of the more common settings which you should understand.
I’m going to assume you know nothing so forgive me if some of what I say is not new but there’s nothing worse than assuming students have knowledge which is missing.
So lets start with that little round knob on the top of the camera with a load of letters on it – you know the one, the one that is set to “A” – Automatic.
Actually, no, I wont start there, lets start by describing what you can control and why you would want to and then we can move back to those settings which control them.
Any photograph you take needs a certain amount of light – the correct amount of light – to hit the sensor to record the scene. (Hang on – sensor? whats that? That’s the surface inside the camera that reacts to the light falling on it and records the picture.)
We have three ways of controlling the amount of light hitting the sensor, the size of the hole through which the light passes in the lens – that’s called the aperture – the length of time that the aperture is allowing light to pass through, that’s called the shutter speed and the sensitivity of the sensor to light – that’s termed the ISO rating. ISO stands for International Organisation for Standardisation (originally in French so letters are in the wrong order!)absolutely nothing to do specifically with photography but its the initials which every photographer understands as meaning the speed of the sensor reacting to light.
So by controlling any one or all three of those elements, aperture, shutter speed and ISO we can control how much light falls on the sensor. Why do we need 3 ways of doing this? Well, each element controls the total in a different way and will have an effect on the final image, I’ll come back to this in more detail over the coming posts but basically you use the shutter speed to control the amount of movement you are showing, aperture to control the amount of the picture that is in focus and ISO to give you more options of being able to use the other two as you wish.
If this helps you to start to understand what your camera is doing, and how, then please leave a comment or a like and I’ll continue with these posts. In the next post I’ll start to explain in more detail and show you the effects these three settings can have on the final result (if anyones interested!)