Don’t Be Afraid to Raise It for Perfect Photographs


perfect photographsWelcome to Part 4 in this new series on photography, Find the Light in Your Home.

Today we’re going to switch gears a little.

I mentioned before that when I started to learn photography, I lived in a house with only 5 windows.

Then we moved and I had the windows I had always dreamed of. The light came pouring in and I was in photographer’s heaven.

When I talk with my students about their images and settings, I hear over and over again, “I didn’t want to raise my ISO.”

We are taught that ISO increases the amount of noise in an image and this is true.

However, if you keep your ISO low in hopes of not adding noise to your image and in turn your image is underexposed than you are actually adding more noise to your photo than if you had raised your ISO.

Surprising, right?

So don’t be afraid to raise your ISO.

I’m not just talking about raising it to ISO 200 or ISO 800, I mean raise that bad boy up to ISO 1600 or ISO 3200 if you need more light.

Remember how I said I had these dream windows and my house had a lot of light? I still found myself shooting at ISO 800 in the middle of the day.

It is a common myth that if you are using natural light during the day than your ISO should be around ISO 100 or ISO 200. This is true if you are shooting outdoors but rarely true when shooting indoors.

Don’t be afraid to raise your ISO.

If you find that you are in a situation you want to photograph and there is as much light as possible coming in through the windows but you still need more light then raise your ISO.

Today’s exercise:

  1. Take a photo with window light. Note your ISO. Did you need to raise it to bring in more light?
  2. Move to another room and take another image. Keep an eye on your settings and note if you need to raise your ISO or lower it depending on if you are in a room with more or less light.
  3. Allow yourself to get rid of the fear of raising your ISO and get your settings to where they need to be for a properly exposed image.

In the next blog post, we’ll be putting everything we’ve learned so far together. Trust me when I say that this is going to be fun! I can’t wait!

Did you miss a previous lesson in this series?

Lesson 1:  Seeing the Light for Better Photographs

Lesson 2: Turn Towards the Light for Awesome Photographs

Lesson 3: Moving Time for the Best Photographs

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