What does “iso” mean in photography?

Welcome back to day four of “Creative Christmas”! Today we’re going to give you a brief overview on ISO, the second of three elements we’re going to have a look at which you can use to control the exposure on your camera.

In very basic terms, your ISO controls how sensitive to light your camera’s sensor is and in most modern cameras this will range from anything down to 50 all the way up into the hundreds of thousands.  

The lower the ISO number, the less sensitive to light your camera’s sensor will be, which will darken your photograph, similar to using a higher shutter speed which we discussed yesterday and these work hand-in-hand – which we will discuss in more detail over the following days.

So if you want your sensor to be more sensitive to light and make your photograph brighter, the easiest way to achieve this is to simply turn your ISO up.  

However, as you have probably guessed, this comes with a caveat. In order to make your sensor more sensitive to light, it comes at the sacrifice of detail and because of the way light photons hit the sensor it introduces something called noise, which will make your photo appear grainy.

With most modern cameras, they give you the option to set your ISO to auto and with advances in sensors you’re likely to be safe even as far up as 1600 ISO, but it’s important to understand what changing the settings will achieve if you want the best quality possible.

Thanks again for watching and hopefully this short video has given you a better understanding of what ISO is on your camera and how you can use it. If this is your first time watching then please be sure to either subscribe to our youtube channel or on the blog here and we’ll sort the rest.

Tomorrow we’re going to be discussing the final element which will affect your camera’s exposure which is the aperture.

See you then!

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