I’ve always had real trouble with photography in low light situations and always blamed it on my old camera, plus they always say that light is a photographers best friend! But sometimes good lighting is just not possible, especially when not based in a studio.
I recently took my camera to work with me to take pictures of all the cute baby animals we have running around at the moment. I was getting quite frustrated at my camera not being able to cope with the light levels in the perfectly lit room, no matter how much I changed my shutter speed and aperture I just couldn’t get a clear, well lit photograph of the sloth and its baby (see attempts below). But there was an old gentleman, and regular at the zoo, who then told me about ISO.
Both unfortunately blurry and dark.
I had heard of ISO but had always thought that it would seriously reduce the quality of my photographs, something which is of course true if you’re not using it properly, as I wasn’t. After hearing his brief explanation I decided to change my settings and finally got some good photographs! I just wish i’d played with it earlier on in the day.
I did get a couple of good shots on a low ISO
Well since that day I’ve done a bit of research into ISO so I can learn exactly what it is and how to use it.
So what exactly is ISO?
ISO is the speed of the film, not to be confused with frame rate but instead it’s how sensitive the film would be to light. So a Low ISO would correspond to an insensitive film that would require more light to create a good quality image, whereas a High ISO would be a far more sensitive film needing less light for the same image quality. But even though you may need a higher ISO in certain situations, the higher ISO does also create grainier images and so it is best to keep the ISO as low as possible for the shot.
Of course if using a Tripod for a still subject it would be fine to use the lowest ISO possible, but for handheld camera work and moving objects it’s best to experiment to find the perfect balance between brightness and noise in the photograph.
It really is so important to understand all the workings of your camera, I’ve had mine for nearly 7 years and I’m only just learning how to really get the most out of it! I plan to carry on learning about all aspects of photography and hopefully it will improve my photographs, in fact i think it already is!
But it’s not only understanding your camera, it’s also understanding your subject so I also plan to study the animals i’m wanting to take photographs of as well. There’s not all that much known about sloth babies, as they have about an 80% mortality rate in just the first week of being born, and a lot of that percentage is from the mother dropping them! I believe this is the first sloth baby in our zoo for around 50 years. So not only is the sloth baby proving to be vital research for myself into the animal kingdom, but also for the keepers who are learning new things about how they develop, grow and learn too! It’s all very exciting.
I plan to take my camera to work again very soon and experiment more with the ISO settings, plus i want to get even more adorable photographs of various animals!
I’ve decided that I really want to do a 365 project to document this year and hopefully improve my photography. I will try to take as many with my ‘big’ camera as possible but I’m sure there will be phone/instagram pictures included as well. I am combining this with 100 days of happiness too and looking for the things which make me happy in day to day life so as not to take it for granted. Follow me on instagram (username : Fwaire) for all the 100 days of happiness photos!
I was going to start on Jan 1st to keep things simple, but I seem to have gotten a little too excited and started on the Eve instead, I guess that could make for a good, bold ending though. 🙂
I’ve decided I’m going to blog my photo’s every sunday rather than everyday as I think it will be easier to keep up with, so, without further ado, here’s week 1 : Days 1-6!
Happy New Year! Myself and Ash on December 31st (somewhere around midnight), celebrating in our house with a few friends.
Jan 1st – I wasn’t particularly hungry whilst at work but couldn’t resist a pudding on my break! Mmm Apple crumble and custard! 🙂
Jan 2nd – Making ties! I’ve had two sales already (one on christmas day and the other on the 1st of jan). Such an amazing start to the year!
Jan 3rd – A sudden thunder storm made me dash for my camera in the hopes of photographing lightening! Unfortunately the bolt that sent me running for my camera turned out to be the only one, but I do rather like this image I captured of the rain on our slanted attic windows. It can sometimes be loud, but I actually find the sound quite soothing.
Jan 4th – Our light switch has broken in our bathroom but luckily our flat comes with awesome stained glass windows in almost every door. The unusual lighting situation has really made me appreciate some of this house’s beauty. This is our current, romantic, view from the toilet, along with Ash wondering why there’s camera sounds coming from the bathroom…
Jan 5th – This was a movie day, until i was called into work (it was meant to be my day off!). I watched a few disney classics whilst sewing and then settled down with some David Attenborough after work whilst writing this blog. Lovely! I find streaming programs on my laptop whilst sewing helps me to work better as I then can’t use it to explore the internet!
So that was the first (almost) week of my 365 project! It’s a shame I only managed to get my DSLR for two of the shots, but hopefully I can use it more next week. 🙂
Who else is doing a 365, 100 days of happiness or similar project?
I’ve decided that it’s finally time to figure out how to use my camera on manual settings so a few days ago I joined Ash and some of our friends and tried to take pictures of them skating.
I spent most of the session just trying to figure out how to use the camera (I’ve lost the manual and so had no idea what all the buttons actually did) but eventually I managed to get a few good photographs. A lot of the photo’s came out blurred, out of focus or just too dark to begin with, but i’m sure with a bit of practice I can be taking even better photographs than I was before!
Unfortunately the weather was a bit dreary which meant that it was hard to get my ISO low enough for the fast shutter speed I needed and I had to crack out my flash quite early on. But this was also a good learning experience as I haven’t used my flash much either!
If there’s any photographers out there that could give me some good feedback or tips for shooting manual than please don’t hesitate to comment! I’d very much appreciate it 🙂
There are more on my facebook page here
But for now I’ll leave you with my favourite photo from the night, it might be a little over exposed due to the harsh flash, but I like it 🙂
I have recently been thinking a lot about my old love of photography. I have a big, old DSLR and I’m always taking far too many photographs, but yet I do nothing with them.
So I’ve decided now is time to get back into photography, start seriously editing again and maybe even adding a few to my shop. Of course I will still be sewing (although i am finding it hard to stay motivated with it right now) but I also want to start selling prints.
If anyone knows of anywhere I could get prints done cheaply and easily that would be amazing (for the uk), I have a few places in mind but any help from photographers out there would be greatly appreciated.
I absolutely love messing around on photoshop with an image, it is definitely one of my favourite things to do, and so last night I decided to experiment with a few images I took of Ash longboarding. You can click on the images to see them a bit bigger.
I started off with a more simple edit, just adding texture, adjusting the colours slightly and playing with the levels.
I like how I made this feel slightly grungy but with Ash really popping out of the centre with his bright colours. I’m glad I managed to catch him as his arms made such a nice line and his board had started to slide. I also really love the concentrated look on his face with his tongue sticking out (although he hates it), it really makes me chuckle. 🙂
The next photograph I decided to be a little more adventurous and play with the background by taking out all the colour. I wanted to really make him stand out as the background is quite busy with all the leaves. I also cropped it slightly to create a better line and draw your eye to him even more.
Again I’m really happy with how this one turned out, I think the contrast between the background and Ash works really well. The only thing is I still find the background very busy and so I think I might need to play around with it even more, maybe by adjusting the contrast or blurring it slightly. But Ash really likes this one too and has set it too his facebook cover photo. 🙂
The last one I edited I decided to do something a little crazier and this is probably one of my most elaborate photoshops to date! I decided to add this bright orange texture to make ash look as though he was on fire in a way. I wanted to create a really dramatic image that would convey the power and energy used to do the slides Ash was trying.
Again I do really like the image even though its a lot different to my usual photography. I think the meaning I’m trying to convey really does come out and it is definitely not subtle. I still can’t decide if maybe it’s a little too much though and I think the lighter section in the middle could be more focussed on Ash.
What do you think about my photographs and edits? I would love to hear some constructive criticism!