ISO Explained | Stop Getting DARK Photos



Images too bright or too dark? I get it! I’ve been there and no matter what I changed my shutter speed and aperture too, my images still look terrible. If you need to learn more about aperture or shutter speed, I have a post on them too!  In today’s post, ISO Explained | Stop Getting DARK Photos, I going to explain exactly what ISO is and what to set it to.

Full disclosure: learning to use a camera isn’t hard. Teaching it is hard. However, I’ve cracked the code and have taught countless students to use a camera in full manual mode. It takes hours. Which we don’t have here but I do offer in Mom Photography School. Click here to read more my signature course, Mastering Manual Mode.

What is ISO?

ISO measures the sensitivity of the camera sensor to light. Did your eyes just glaze over? Stay with me here. Let’s talk about the good ol’ film days. When the photographer got out his/her camera, the first thing they did was figure out the right film to load in their camera for the lighting situation. A cloudy day would be a different roll of film than a bright and sunny day. The ISO of the film was different. How did they choose which film to load?

High ISO = when it’s dark

Low ISO = when it’s bright


This is a guide for what to set you ISO at for the lighting condition. Note: this is just a guide and is not a rule. I’ve shot at ISO 500 on a sunny day before. However, this is a good starting place. Click here to get my free ISO cheat sheet that includes this chart.


ISO Best Practice

Set your ISO first. Before you dial in your other settings (aperture and shutter speed) set your ISO first.

The higher your ISO, the more grainy (or noisy) the image will become. Grainy photos are not a terrible thing but you do want to minimize the grain as much as possible. To accomplish this, always you the lowest ISO possible.

More of a visual learner? Hop over to my YouTube channel where I talk all about ISO.

Kayla Brint_Mom Photography School_Mom Hacks_Mom Tips_24

So there you have it, ISO Explained | Stop Getting DARK Photos. Granted, there is much more to ISO than what I discussed today. To fully understand ISO (and get a good image), you need to understand aperture and shutter speed as well. Interested in FINALLY learning to use your camera? Come joining me in Mom Photography School for only $35! Click here to read all about how much moms all over the country have gotten amazing results with MPS.







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