Towards understanding Aperture and Shutter speed settings

It’s time to Pay it forward again with another photography tip.  Settings your DSLR camera to auto or ‘P’ mode may be fine if all you want to do is get reasonably good photos and snap shots without much fuss and bother. However, if you desire to improve as a photographer and enhance your skills and expand your creativity, then you will definitely need to spend some time learning how to use the various features of your dslr and explore the way ISO, Aperture and Shutter speed can vary the look and feel of the photos you take.  Sometimes the subject, the light conditions, the nature of the event may require greater control to get the shot! For example, if you are shooting in auto mode and your subject is standing in front of a very bright sunlit window, the chances are they will be underexposed and very dark compared to the brightly lit background. To overcome this, you need to learn how and when to use some fill flash or change the exposure (see the fill flash tip below). Thankfully there are plenty of helpful tips and tutorials freely available on the internet – including the RSS feeds on our Pay it forward page under Enhance you photography with David Ziser, Neil van Niekerk and The Digital Photography School.

One great website I would like to highlight in this post is which has a nifty and very helpful DSLR camera simulator which let’s you see how changing such things as aperture, shutter speed, ISO, focal length effects the images you capture. A good place to start is The SLR camera explained interactive page which explains how a DSLR works. It is a step-by-step walkthrough of what aperture, shutter speeds, and ISO settings are all about. It only takes a few minutes to complete.

The next page to move onto is their DSLR Camera Simulator page (a live link to the simulator is embeded below). This is a virtual camera where you can play around with the different settings and combinations. Click the blue “i” (the help mode) to learn about the camera controls. Tweaking the various controls and then clicking the shutters shows you how the photo of the little girl will look. You can also check the tripod option to see how it can help to get sharper photos in some situations. Dave Johnson of PCWorld has wriiten a very useful article which walks users through the various ways to use the simulator (although it refers to a previous version without the tripod option, the tutorial is still worth reading).

Enjoy learning,

David :)



Share and Enjoy

Leave a Reply