The Holy Trinity of Camera Settings

understanding camera settings

A camera may look small and just easy to use, but it has a lot of features you should explore more. It may be complicated at first, but once you get the hang of it, your photos are guaranteed to look better and just the way you want them to be. These features are the kinds that you can tinker on and experiment with. There are no rules at all.

The three fundamentals of camera settings are namely aperture, shutter speed, and ISO. Commonly, they control how bright your photos are going to be, but they do it differently. Each setting brings out a new effect to your images and having to balance all three to make your images visually appealing is an art in photography.

professional camera settings


So, first’s thing’s first, the aperture or referring to the diameter of the hole within the lens. In comparison with our human eyes, it is represented like our pupil, which closes and opens to regulate the amount of light passing through the lens. Your choice of the aperture will show an effect on the depth of field on your final image such as, if you choose the setting into a wider aperture (i.e. f/1.4), you let more light in which would give you a brighter picture and depth of field that is a blurred background. And with a narrower aperture (i.e. f/22), there’s less light coming through, so it would result in a darker picture and a sharp background.

Shutter Speed

Now, have you ever wondered how those motion of moving animals or objects are being captured? That’s what shutter speed is responsible for, allowing the light to shine towards the imaging sensor in a jiff. The speed of how this happens would then determine the length of exposure and the amount of motion blur in your image. The shutter speed is measured in fractions of a second, so, with shutter speed 1/2 of a second, it allows more light to touch the image sensor thus, producing a brighter picture compared to a shutter speed 1/200 of a second. For the motion blur, the slower the shutter, the more motion blur appears on your image. But with faster shutter speed, it all happens so fast that it freezes the motion, and no blurs are on your image.


One last important setting is the ISO, and here’s a fact about it. It stands for the International Organization for Standardization – an organization that sets out international standards for various types of measurements. But, when talking about the camera’s ISO, it refers to the device’s sensitivity to light. Did you ever notice how grainy your photos look from your camera when you take a picture at night? It is the ISO working and compensating for the lack of light by switching to a higher ISO. Turning the ISO number up (such as ISO 1,600) would result in increasing the exposure, but could also result in decreasing the quality of the image, which is why there will be more digital noise or what we call “grain.” So, with a lower ISO (such as ISO 100), it is less sensitive to light, and there would be lesser grain.