This week will be a little in-depth in the tips and tricks section.  We will be talking about using your camera in manual mode.  At first it will seem overwhelming but as you begin to understand how your camera works you will begin to create photos that would never be possible with automatic settings.  There are three major factors that effect the photos you take.  These three factors are shutter speed, aperture, and ISO.  Today I will provide a brief explination of all three.  In later newsletters I will talk about each one in more detail.         

     Aperature.  What is aperture?  To put it simply it is the size of the opening in your lens.  This opening controls how much light enters your camera. The bigger the opening the more light that will come through. Aperture also controls how much of your photo will be in focus. The larger your opening the less your photo will be in focus.  At first this sounds bad and you may be wondering; aren't pictures supposed to be in focus? With less of my photo in focus won't that ruin it?  The answer is, of course not.  Having your subject in focus with everything else out of focus is a great way to create interest in a photo.   

 Shutter speed controls how long the sensor of your camera is exposed to the light.  Your sensor can be thought of as a sponge and the light as water.  If your aperature opening is small, just like water passing through a small hole, only a trickle of light will be coming through.  With only a trickle of light coming through, it will take the sensor longer to become saturated, just like it would take the sponge a while to fill with water.  If your opening is large and there is a lot of light the room you would need a fast shutter speed to prevent too much light from reaching your sensor and overexposing your photo.  You as the photographer have to decide how much light you need and then leave your shutter open long enough to get there.  Shutter speed also controls how motion is captured.  If someone is moving quickly, your shutterspeed will have to be fast in order to freeze ther motion.  But maybe a little blur is what your are looking for, just a little something to help your photo tell its story.    See how this is all coming together?  Pretty exiting stuff, right!  

  Finally, IS.  Without getting too technical this controls how sensitive you camera sensor is to light.  Setting your ISO low means it will take your sensor longer to sponge up light.  Setting your ISO high turns your sensor into a super absorbent mega sponge that will suck up all available light very quickly.  With every decision there is always a trade-off.  An image shot at a low ISO will take a lot of light to make but will be very smooth.  An image shot with a high ISO will be grainy or have imperfections and look very rough.  This sounds bad,but depending on what you want your image to look like, it could be desireable.    

 I know that this is a lot of information this week.  I will spend more time on each of these items in future newsletters.  The best way to see what I am talking about is to get your camera out and give it a try. Once you start seeing the connections between these three factors and how they help you to to take control of your camera, you will never look at taking photos the same again.  Until next month, happy shooting:).

Located in Scottsdale Arizona, JAO Photography is focused on traditional family portrait photography as well as lifestyle photography captured in a photojournalistic style.  Please join our newsletter by clicking the footprints below.

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