Photography Crash Course: 13 Tips for ISO Settings

Photography Crash Course Series

“ISO whaaaaaaat?” If that sounds like you, don’t worry! Check out these thirteen tips to keep you on your ISO A-game:

1. ISO on your digital SLR camera settings refers to the film speed and ultimately how sensitive your image sensor is to light (even though your camera is digital the ISO function is still the same as older film cameras).

How to change your digital SLR camera ISO setting?

To change the ISO setting on your digital SLR camera, press the ISO button then use the ‘up down left and right buttons’ to change the speed. Again, if you don’t have this option refer to your cameras manual as it may be slightly different between brands.

ISO on DSLR camera

2. The most common ISO camera speed settings are: 100, 200, 400 and 800. Depending on your digital camera model you may also have them in the range of 64, 100, 160, 200, 400, 640, 800, 1600.

3. On most cameras you can find the ISO setting by looking at the LCD screen on the top right corner (refer to your manual if you don’t see it there).

4. The lower the ISO speed, the slower the speed; the higher, the faster.

5. To change the ISO speed number on your camera, press the ISO button and simply use the up/down/left/right buttons to change the speed. (Refer to your manual if you cannot find this button.)

6. Basically, when you are in sunnier or brighter conditions you want to lower your ISO so that your photo is not overexposed (100 or 200 is usually a good starting point for outdoor sunny conditions).

7. If you are photographing in overcast or evening conditions, you should start your ISO setting within the range of 400 to 800.

8. In low light or night time conditions, you might want to start  your ISO at 1600 (you want a slower shutter speed to let more light into your sensor, or else the photo will appear too dark).

9. One thing you should keep in mind: the higher the ISO, the grainier the photo will appear. So try to find the lowest ISO setting that works for your situation. (However, keep in mind sometimes a grainy photo is better than a photo that is too dark, and depending on what post-processing software you have, it’s possible get rid of a lot of the graininess.)

10. A higher ISO is useful for when you want to take photos in dark settings but don’t want to use a flash.

11. When your digital SLR camera is in automatic mode, the ISO speed is chosen for you to suit the level of light available sensed by your camera in that particular situation.

12. In some of your manual settings on your DSLR dial, it will chose the ISO for you, such as the P (Program setting).

13.  Practice makes perfect. Place yourself in variously lit settings and practice setting your ISO from memory. Eventually it will come naturally!

You Might Also Be Interested In:

10 Quick Photography Tips

How To Guide: Canvas Photo Transfer

[Source: SLR Photography Guide] {Independent Fashion Bloggers}

[Image credit: Shutterstock]

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Photography Crash Course: 10 Quick Tips

Photography Crash Course Series
photo copyright {Serenity Bolt Photography}
It’s time to turn that dial! You know what I’m talking about….that safe little “A” on your camera where you’ve been hiding out, or perhaps you’re more of the adventurous type and have scooted it over to “P” a few times? Well, it’s time to step it up. You’ll be amazed at how easy it is to start experimenting with your camera. It’s not like there’s any risk involved- no one has to know how many crappy photos you deleted before you got that one amazing shot!

Here are just a few quick tips to get you started:

1. Shoot, shoot, shoot. I remember watching an interview with Jay Maisel, a world-renowned street photographer, and that was the one thing that he stressed the most. You have to get out there, every day if possible, and just take a lot of pictures. It increases the chance that you’ll photograph something spectacular. There has never been a day that I’ve taken my camera out with me for the day and regretted it. You’ll see the world differently, I promise.

2. Count to 10. Take the time to frame your shots. Don’t shoot with the intention of cropping later. You’ll save time, and you won’t lose any image quality by zooming and cropping away at it in post-processing. As war photographer Robert Capa said, “zoom with your feet.”

3. Pay attention to lighting. Don’t shoot in direct sunlight, especially if you’re photographing people. It’s really unflattering! Try to pay attention to the quality and direction of the light around you. Late afternoon and early morning are great times to shoot. Mid-day (when the sun is harshest) is not so great.

4. Learn the basics of exposure. ISO, shutter speed, and aperture. You can print and laminate these cheat-sheet cards to keep in your camera bag. Once you get these down, that “M” button will be your friend because it means you have total control over your photographs. After all….you’re smarter than your camera, right?!

Example of a slow shutter speed:

Example of a high shutter speed:

Now about aperture…

Things you should know about your aperture:

  • The aperture is the size of the opening in the lens when a picture is taken.When you hit a button to take a picture, a hole opens to allow the camera to  capture the scene — the aperture you set effects the size of that hole. The larger the hold, the more light goes in, the smaller the hole, the less light.
  •   Aperture is measured in f-stops (you will see it referred to as f/number, like f/2.8, f/4, f/22, etc.).
  • Moving from one f-stop to the next doubles or halves the size of the amount of opening in your lens. Simply put, it doubles or halves the amount of light coming into your camera.
  • The one tricky thing you MUST remember — large apertures (where more light is let in) have SMALLER f-stops, and small apertures (less light) have LARGER f-stops. In context: f/2.8 lets in much more light than f/22.
  • The depth of field (DOF) is the distance between the nearest and farthest objects in a scene that appear acceptably sharp in an image.
  • Large depth of field means that most or all of your image (meaning both foreground and the background) is in focus, or sharp. For this effect, you want a larger f-stop, meaning a smaller aperture or less light getting in.

Most of the background here is in focus, giving it a large depth of field and a small aperture:

Shallow depth of field means that only a part of the image is in focus, and the rest will be blurry or fuzzy. For this effect, you want a smaller f-stop, meaning a larger aperture or more light.

Example, the background is blurry, leaving only the subject in focus, which is a shallow DOF and a larger aperture:

One way to keep all this straight in your head: small f-stop numbers mean small DOF, and large f-stop numbers mean large DOF (depth of field).

…and now moving on, a few more things to consider:

 4.  Check the background. Make sure there’s nothing “growing” out of your subject’s head….like a tree or a telephone pole.

5. Hold steady! This one might seem obvious, but it’s a good idea to get in the habit of holding your camera with one hand supporting it from underneath. This helps to keep it nice and level, as well as reduce camera shake.

6. Pay attention to composition. Start with a few articles on composition. Learn the rules from more experienced photographers. There is a wealth of information out there- use it!

7. Forget the flash! Learn to take pictures in low light by using the right combination of high ISO (this is not complicated, higher numbers mean a brighter picture) shutter speed, and aperture (lower is better for low-light situations because it lets in more light). If you must use a flash, use a diffuser (this can be as simple as holding a napkin above the flash). Your subjects will thank you for it, I promise.

8. Study the greats. Identify what is is about their work that draws you to it. It’s not a bad idea to try and copy the style of photographers that you admire. You can learn a lot by trying to figure out what motivated them to get the shots you love. You’ll find that your own style emerges on its own after a while.

9. Move around. Do you want every photo to look like it was taken from the same point of view (about yay high…er…exactly the height of your face!) Crouch down, lean over, experiment with angles…it’s waaay more fun!

10. Experiment away! Remember, it doesn’t cost anything to go crazy with your camera. Take a hundred pictures of the same bathtub with different exposures (just don’t show them to anybody). It’s the best way to learn your camera inside and out.

11. Bonus tip: Focus on the details. Don’t just look at the big picture. Sometimes it’s the little things that capture the feeling of a place or situation. This is also a good way to make color stand out in your photos. I love to take vivid close-ups- it never fails to turn the everyday into something extraordinary.

Already got a few awesome shots you’d like to make prints of? Learn how to make unique canvas prints at home with my easy How-To Guide: Canvas Photo Transfer.

A few resources:

Digital Photography School is a great website with a huge stockpile of articles on every subject imaginable.

Also, check out this helpful (and hilarious) video 50 PHOTOGRAPHY TIPS IN FIFTEEN MINUTES

Kelby Training is a subscription-only site by photoshop guru Scott Kelby. For 25 bucks a month, you can watch as many videos as you want. I subscribed for a month, watched a ton of videos, and unsubscribed! This is entirely acceptable.

Happy Shooting!

xo Serenity

[Image credit: Shutterstock]

Apple Cider Vinegar For Clear Skin

apples

(image via beautybets.com)

I have been hearing about this vinegar beauty secret for years. My own sister swears by it, and leaves a cloudy bottle of the stuff lying around every time she visits.

As Gala Darling put it so succinctly, “No, it doesn’t come in a fancy bottle. It doesn’t smell like an expensive French spa or feel luxurious when you use it. In fact, it smells like salad dressing & it tastes downright disgusting.”

So why on earth would you want to inflict this upon yourself? It’s all about fermentation, my friends.

The fermentation process that turns apples into vinegar creates all kinds of amazing enzymes and nutrients that act as a magical elixir for your skin, hair, and general health.

Apple cider vinegar is anti-viral, anti-bacterial & anti-fungal due to its malic acid content. It  also contains potassium (helps prevent hair loss, keeps your teeth strong and prevents runny noses) as well as calcium (good for strong bones & teeth) and pectin which helps to regulate blood pressure & reduce bad cholesterol. It also helps with weight control because it contains acetic acid which keeps starch from being digested too fast and lowers the rise of glucose after eating.

It also cures sore throats (this was a huge part of my childhood- at the first sign of a scratchy throat, my mom would reach for the ol’ vinegar bottle!)

So how do you use Apple Cider Vinegar? Just drink a spoonful every day for glowing skin and also to prevent joint pain & stiffness, break down fats & speed up your metabolism, and get rid of heartburn. Note: mixing it with water and honey makes it taste infinitely better.

Apple Cider Vinegar

All right, so I’m finally a believer! I plan to give this stuff a month or two and see if I notice a difference.

Do you have any weird beauty secrets that you swear by?

{via GalaDarling}

Socks for everyone!

hey, nice whale socks!

Today I was cold…very, very cold. As some of you may know, I am currently taking a vacation from summer in lovely San Francisco, the city where you can go if you want to thoroughly confuse your sense of seasons.

Today I found myself on Pier 39 watching the sea lions nap and flop around, when I realized that I was waaaay underdressed. Whale socks to the rescue! I am so happy that I discovered Portland-based kneesock purveyors Sock It To Me.

I don’t know what to order first, I’m so excited. Owls, rainbows… space socks?

The Burning House: What Would You Take?

If your house was on fire, what would you grab?

This is precisely the question that Foster Huntington asked himself, first photographing the belongings that he would take, and then asking a few friends to do the same. His experiment soon turned into a blog called The Burning House, and later became a book after he traveled around the country collecting submissions from as many diverse sources as possible.

“Today, developed countries are consuming more than ever before. This culture of consumption is often fueled by people’s desire to define themselves by the

possessions they amass. The Burning House: What Would You Take? takes a different approach to personal

definition. By removing easily replaceable objects and instead focusing on things unique to them, people are able to capture their personalities in a photograph.”

From the introduction to the book

Name: Miguel

Age: 36

Location: Porto

Occupation: Bike shop owner

List:

The picture you gave me and the leather box we found together.

Mom and dads old camera and mom and dads old leather bag.

The shoes I can’t live without.

Your smell #1 and your smell #2.

The notebook where I draw while you laugh.

My iPod to listen to beautiful tunes while thinking in our next home.

Name: Brody

Age: 6

Location: New Hampshire

Occupation: A kid

List:

Wedgehead

Garfeild cup

Lego helicopter

Bumblebee Transformer

Chip

yellow belt

piggybank

wallet

weaving

(not pictured) Lego Camera used to take photo

Name: Kate Molins

Age: 26

Location: London, UK

Occupation: Clapper / Loader

List:

Buster Kitten – 2 yr old cat

My mum’s ashes

Photo album / scrap book

iPhone

Grandmother’s watch

Dad’s watch

My watch – 16th birthday present from my mum

Macbook

Passport

8mm Camera – 24th birthday present from all my friends

Dad’s “I Love Tits” Mug – in small print, “from the British Ornithological Society”

Limited edition GONZO, Hunter S. Thompson photo book – 21st birthday present from my mum

Lemmy, Buster Kitten’s brother

My uncle’s old Leica CL

Diary & notebook of VALUABLE ideas & info from the past year

Portable hard drive with millions of photos and other important things

Name: Joshua Lee Bacon

Age: 20

Location: Boone, Iowa

Occupation: Student

List:

Favorite pants.

Favorite underwear.

iPhone.

Box full of all my prints and negatives.

Buffalo box full of treasures and special snapshots.

Passport.

Chinese cigars.

Some cash.

Photo of my grandparents.

Photo of a friend.

Field notes and pens.

Vivitar and telephoto lens.

I would want to take more records, but the first one I would grab would be this Envy Corps 7 inch.

Some old letters.

Wallet.

Name: Brenda Bell

Age: 60

Location: Pinetop, Arizona White Mountains (wild fire country May/June)

Occupation: Homemaker

List:

My dog, Baby Val and treats for him

My husband Larry and treats for him

Peanut butter and crackers, peanuts, candy and gum

Bumblebee Transformer

A spork (spoon/fork)

Hand warmers

Wool hat

Lots of money (small dimensions) and change

Emergency first aid kit and zip lock bags

Matches

Name: Kristi Dahlstrom

Age: 27

Location: Germany

Occupation: Literature Teacher

List:

Great Aunt’s Violin (& Bow)

US Passport

Photograph of Siblings

2 Letters

Journal

New American Standard Bible

Rilke’s Book of Hours

T.S. Elliot Collected Poems

MacBook Pro

Black Flipflops

Name: Luca

Age: 42

Location: Edinburgh, Scotland

Occupation: Pricing analyst

List:

My collected writings

My Field Notes still to be used

My current notebook

the Midori Travellers Notebook On Writing by Stephen King

From Hell by Alan Moore

Important photographs

The stove moka I had for the past 10 years (because nothing looks as bad after a proper coffee)

The belt my dad had when he was in the army

The beret I had when I was in the army

Fountain pen and pencil, with my favourite brown ink

My grandad’s petrol lighter

Opinel knife Bookbinding tools

Reading glasses and sunglasses

iPhone 4S (used to take the picture)

Name: Alejandro Sosa

Age: 36

Location: Venezuela

Occupation: Technology consultant

List:

Everything is recoverable, except my daughter

weaving

(not pictured) Lego Camera used to take photo

Street Artist Megx Turns Germany Into Legoland

Bridge Transformed into Giant LEGO Bricks by German Street Artist MEGX

A standard-issue gray overpass was designed to look like giant LEGO bricks by MEGX, a street artist whose graffiti is worth checking out. The concrete 250-square-meter bridge in Germany was transformed from boring concrete into a real-life legoland creation.

Bridge Transformed into Giant LEGO Bricks by German Street Artist MEGX

photo by MEGX

Bridge Transformed into Giant LEGO Bricks by German Street Artist MEGX

Photo by Lukas Pauer

The Wuppertal, Germany bridge was not transformed overnight graffiti — authorities and sponsors helped MEGX create the giant mural over the course of four weeks. Which is still not a lot of time...

via {design milk}

Weekend Links + Fiction Photo

I took this photo last week on an empty backroad on Cape Cod. An old motel, a broken phone, a car…surely there is a story here.

It’s up to you to tell it.

Your submissions can be as long or short as you want. I’ll post the winning entry next week. I can’t wait to find out what happened here!

Now, some links for your weekend perusal:

  • Have you discovered Art.com? Every print imaginable…browse to your heart’s content! I almost felt like this deserved a post of its own, I love this site so much.
  • Pretty handpiece jewelry from Palomarie.
  • 20 ways to let go of regret.
  • There is something about the way that the modern and the ancient are seamlessly fused in this Spanish convent by architect David Closes that I can’t stop looking at.
  • English designer Isabel Knowles makes lovely handmade skirts, dresses and tops. I love all of them…and good news- she has both an etsy shop and a blog!
  • Wearelucky. “I decided to pass on my good luck to others by giving away £1,000 every day. I planned to give the money to complete strangers – someone different every time – and all I’d ask is that they’d do something positive with the cash. I didn’t just want to share the money; I wanted to share the responsibility that came with it. I would take a few photos, ask a few questions and build a gallery of Lucky people and stories.” Um, hello. Hi everyone. Right here.
  • Happy Birthday, E.B. White. The author of my favorite children’s book (no, not “Charlotte’s Web”, “The Trumpet of the Swan”) turned 113 this week. Here is a vintage animated film based on The Family That Dwelt Apart.
  • Did someone say glow-in-the-dark cupcakes?

Have a good weekend!

xo Serenity

Five Minute Ice Cream

…right out of the blender!

This recipe is a dessert party trick that impresses both kids and adults with your magical ability to seemingly create luscious berry ice cream out of thin air. Just say the words “ice cream” and five minutes later (about the time it takes to decide who’s going to run to the store and get some) you’ve got a dish of creamy berry deliciousness.

No ice cream-maker needed.

I’m also a big fan of recipes that are pure (3 ingredients) and simple.

Here’s how:

Ingredients:

  • one 10-oz. package of frozen berries
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream

1. Get some berries.

                                                                                                                                                        2.  Dump the berries into a food processor or blender with sugar. You can decide how chunky you want the berries. I liked them kind of roughly chopped, but just blend longer for a smoother consistency. The original recipe called for more sugar, but I cut it by about 1/3 and still felt like it was a bit too sweet for me. However, I personally prefer tart berries, so you be the judge!

4. While the blender/food processor is still running, pour in the cream. Try to stop as soon as it’s mixed, since the longer you blend it, the less thick it will be.

…after freezing for half an hour

If you overdo it, just stick it in the freezer for a few minutes. I put mine in for 30 minutes and it had the consistency of “real” ice cream!
You can definitely eat it right out of the bowl, though. I gave my dad a taste and he ran away with the whole dish and wouldn’t give it back. True story.
Taste-test approved.
Enjoy!
xo Serenity
 * note: I also tried a batch with 2% milk. It came out good, but (obviously) less creamy. It was more like sorbet. Still delicious, though! I think you could also use vanilla soy or almond milk (If you’re looking for another non-dairy treat, try these fudge popsicles.)  And of course, I’d like to try it with stevia for a sugar-free version. 


One Month Later

Well, Bolt in the Blue is officially one month old today and I would like to thank every one of my 124 new followers and incredible 157, 359 page-viewers my first month! I am completely blown away. I have to say, I was positively giddy the first day when one of my 15 (I was really excited!) visitors commented that she was going to try making my recipe for stevia strawberry lemonade. “This,” I thought to myself, “is just the coolest thing ever.” And we were off!

I’m so excited to be sharing my interests, dabblings, adventures and photography with all of you.

Happy Birthday, Bolt in the Blue!

Flea Market Finds

Ahhh…the flea market. I find that there are a series of steps one makes upon entering one of these bastions of pure Americana past and present. Before you can fall down the rabbit hole into 1957, you have to adjust to the fact that this is in fact 2012, and the assault of banners advertising “one-dollar socks!” are all you see upon your disappointing first scan. But wait, my friends…dig. You must dig. It’s all part of the experience. Roam. By the end of your trip to the flea market, you will have found those lost treasures, listened to the banter of the sellers (my favorite part) and on your way out…hey, dollar socks? Not a bad deal!

I hope you enjoy looking at a few of the things I found this weekend, and get inspired to go on a hunt of your own!

Wellfleet Drive-In Theater (and Flea Market) Wellfleet, Cape Cod. Since 1957

Lighthouses (and weekend links!)

(image copyright Serenity Bolt Photography)

“Inside my empty bottle I was constructing a lighthouse while all the others were making ships.” — Charles Simic

(image copyright Serenity Bolt Photography)

I’ve been spending a lot of time near the ocean lately. Yesterday, I took a trip to the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute and saw, among other things, a rare blue lobster. The odds are 2 million to one against its very existence. How fitting then that today, I came across the first poem to be published in a scientific journal. The poem, by Smith College life sciences professor and clock researcher Mary E. Harrington, is about the bioluminescent algae Gonyaulax polyedra.

FEEDBACK

If the lazy dinoflagellate
should lay abed
refuse to photosynthesize,
realize:
the clock will not slow

but it will grow fait
weaker
weaker

barely whispering at the end
”rise”
”rise”

to little effect.
The recalcitrant Gonyaulax
arms crossed
snorts
“No longer will
they call my life
(my life!)
‘just hands’.
I am sticking to the sea bed!”

Have a good weekend. Here are some links for your perusal:
  • Pretty camping tents by Fieldcandy. I love the one that looks like a book!
  • How to style the perfect top-knot. I’ve been wearing my hair like this all week. So easy and elegant!
  • Buy a bracelet (my favorite is the double-wrapped wood) from the do-gooders over at Threads and “wear change” by helping at-risk kids break the cycle of poverty. You can also read a blog entry about each kid involved here.
  • Got some time on your hands this weekend and a hankering to add more cement items to your life? Nine things you can make with cement.
  • DIY typewriter pop-up cards. Just like your favorite books from when you were a kid!
  • Artist Lisa Kellner makes sculptures out of silk organza, thread and pigments that look like giant cell structures dripping out of the ceiling. They are quite fascinating.
  • And finally…Chinese artist Pinpin Co uses washable ink to draw intricate patterns on her subjects’ faces. What do you think? Creepy or beautiful?