Blog #10 Photography at Events (part 2)
By Satureyes Photography
-Shutter speed is how quick the light coming through the lens is allowed onto the sensor.
– Aperture is how big the hole in the lens is that lets light through to the sensor.
– ISO is how sensitive the sensor is to light.
All these 3 things affect each other. If you change one of them it will change something else.
The auto mode will make all these choices for you. BUT just by changing one of them and understanding why, you can get you better results.
If it’s really dark you need to make the lens ‘see’ more. So you need to make the hole in the lens bigger and also let the sensor become more sensitive so it swallows more light.
If it’s bright, make the hole smaller and the shutter speed a bit quicker so less light comes through the lens onto the sensor. There’s more light when it’s bright so it doesn’t need as much time on sensor.
Be Brave! And flick from the auto mode to the ‘P’ setting. This is program mode. It’s like full auto but has a little more control for you. It will let you control the ISO and also a little bit of exposure. If you look through the menus you’ll probably see an ISO setting. The higher the number the more sensitive to light your camera will get. Be careful though, the higher the number the more ‘noise’ you’ll get on the picture. Most small cameras can shoot very nicely up to ISO 800. They may go to 1600 or 3200 or even higher but the picture quality will most probably be lousy. However if it means you get a shot rather than not then do whatever it takes.
Flash or not?– If you have the flash on then you can also tell the camera to make it more or less powerful. You may have a dial or a switch to change the EV (exposure value). Going to +EV makes the exposure brighter and -EV makes it less. If there’s too much flash hitting your subjects knock it down a notch or two. See what happens. The same is true without flash. You’re basically overriding what the camera thinks is the right exposure and making it what you want.
More Control? Program mode is ok – but not as good as being a little more daring and shooting in one of the other modes. Your camera may not have these modes, but have a read anyway because it will help you understand how the camera works.
You may have AV mode or aperture value or aperture priority mode. Here you set the size of the hole that lets the light through and the camera makes settings to the shutter speed. I shoot this mode 99% of the time.
You may see on the camera screen numbers like f5.6 or f2.8. This is the size of the hole- known as the aperture. The smaller the number the bigger the hole. In low light you want to get this hole as big as possible to let more light in. So make sure you twiddle the dial until it has the lowest number there is on your camera.
Here’s a tip: when you zoom in the hole in the lens closes up quite a lot- so less light can come in through the lens. If you need more light don’t zoom. You can probably see the value change when you zoom. It may be f3.4 and when you zoom it could change to f5.6 or even higher. For dim lit rooms you need a lower number.
Here’s another tip: when you have the flash on in AV mode you will find it lets more ambient light in, so you can capture some of the atmosphere. In auto and P mode you will find it makes the background black but the people exposed. That’s because the camera has decided the people are more important than the background.
You will also see some other figures on the screen. Usual something like: 1/30 or 1/250. This is shutter speed. In AV mode the camera sets this. If the camera thinks its too low it probably will show an icon of a shaky camera. Take the advice and make the camera increase the shutter speed you can’t let more light through the lens because you’ve got it fully ‘open’, so pump up the ISO and you will see the shutter speed change. You’re making the sensor get more light so the shutter speed can be quicker. Too slow and it will be blurry in the final shot.
In the next installment: shooting in the dark