ISO or ASA is a parameter used to determine the sensitivity of the image sensor. The same concept also applies for film photography- the lower the ISO number; the less sensitive is your camera to the light exposure and as a consequence, finer will be the grain.
Higher ISO settings are useful in dimmer environment to get faster shutter speeds and sharper images. Also, there are fewer odds of unwanted blur caused due to camera shake. However, the disadvantage being that you will capture noisier shots. Therefore, a high ISO should be your ultimate resort while shooting photos.
You should try decreasing your aperture f-number instead, to accelerate your shutter speed. Nonetheless, different situation demand different ISO settings and a photographer must know about the same.
Tips to Select Correct ISO for Photography
Given below are some tips regarding when to regulate your ISO settings and under what conditions in your pursuit to shoot a perfect, grain-less, crystal clear image comprising of minute details:
If you are using a tripod stand while shooting you may take chances in lowering down your ISO and hence employ a slower shutter speed. This is because tripods stabilize the focus of your camera and prevents any chances of undesirable blurs.
Nature of Subject
If your subject’s position is dynamic, that is, you want to capture moving subjects then you have no other choice but to elevate your ISO. But, if situations are otherwise and your subject is perfectly still then slower shutter speed may suffice which can enable you to alleviate your ISO.
Depth of Field
If you do not require much depth of field you can try increasing the aperture of your camera to increase the exposure of light into your camera which may allow you to reduce your ISO setting.
Artificial Light Sources
Switching the flash on in your camera or using artificial light to brighten up the shooting spot can help to let more light into your camera thus liberating you from the problem of decreasing your ISO settings and the fear of getting grainy images. This situation is more applicable while shooting indoors.
On sunny days, outdoors, switch to 100 ISO to get wonderful shots. However, if you encounter details in the shadowed parts of your photo, do not restrain from going for ISO 200 or even 400. Rainy days, early mornings, overcast days, or just before dusk is situations when you must set your ISO to 400 for the starters and then increase by 100 to make some adjustment.
When taking photos in the dark of the night, always go for ISO 800 to get sharp, refined images while hand holding the camera. Moreover, shift your aperture f-number to its lowest magnitude to capture more light in the situation.
When image quality is of utmost need always prefer low ISO values to get sharper, noise-free photos. Follow these guidelines to get a perfect capture.
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