How to Use ISO Effectively

When starting out in photography, almost everyone tells you to shoot at the lowest ISO setting. Well, it’s not a bad idea since you do get cleaner images with a lower ISO. However, if you always try and limit yourself to using the base ISO, then you’ll be missing out on a lot of opportunities. It’s thus quintessential that you understand when it’s best to crank up those ISO values. So, in today’s video, photographer Paul Farris from Photo Genius shares some important tips to help you use ISO effectively:

Increasing your camera’s ISO value tells the camera to amplify the signals collected by the sensor. This makes the images appear brighter, which puts you at an advantage when working in dimly lit situations.

In low light conditions, when you use a very slow shutter speed, your images will come out blurry and unusable if the subject moves. By increasing your ISO in such situations, you get to use faster shutter speeds and thus lower the chance of blurry images. And as Farris highlights in the image, this tip comes in handy not only in low light conditions. Whenever you’re doing sports or wildlife photography, you’ll find it useful to boost the ISO by a few stops to aid you in working with faster shutter speeds and freezing action.

The downside of using your camera at higher ISOs is the introduction of digital noise and the loss of details. That’s why it’s very important that you understand the capabilities of your camera before you really push the limit. Farris shares a pretty easy method you can follow for this. Simply start taking photos from the camera’s base ISO and work your way up. Then review your images and determine the highest ISO at which the image appears workable. You’ll then know the comfortable range in which the camera’s ISO performance is optimal without having to feel uncertain. You can make your life even easier by setting the camera to “Auto ISO” mode. But be sure to set the upper and lower ISO limit based on the camera’s ISO performance.

After watching this video, are you still only going to take photos at the camera’s base ISO? Let us know in the comments.

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