Home Tech Editorials Basic Photography – ISO, Aperture, Exposure

Basic Photography – ISO, Aperture, Exposure

Photo by Udemy

Who does not love a good photo? If there is something in our lives that we do not want to miss, we take a photo of it.

A member of your family is celebrating his/her birthday, you smile and take a photo. Your kid just graduated from elementary, you take a photo.

Before, taking a photo is commonly seen when there is a special occasion. But now, a day won’t go by without you snapping a quick picture.

You wake up, grab your phone, snap a photo. BAM! #WokeUpLikeThis

You take a shower, get yourself dressed up, looks at the mirror and take a snap. BAM! #OOTD

But today, we take a photo not only on special occasions but also the simplest things that make us happy.

Taking a quick selfie has never been easier thanks to evolving technologies. However, for some people, Photography is more than taking a quick picture.

There are a lot of technicalities involved in photography, so in this article, we are going to talk about some of the basic terms namely – ISO, Aperture, and Exposure.

Almost all smartphones have these in their settings but what are these jargons and what do they do? Let’s find out.



Perhaps you have seen and heard this from us saying “1.9 aperture, 2.1 aperture” and so on. If you take a look at the technical sheet of your phones, you might be able to see 16MP F/1.9, 13MP f/2.0 or something like.

Aperture is the hole in the lens. It controls how much light passes through the lens. It is measured by f/1.4, f/1.9, f/2.2, f/4.0 and so on.

Basically, the lower the number of the aperture, the more light passes through. So if someone says wide aperture it means it has a lower number – making it great for low-light shooting.

However, it’s not that simple.

The Depth of Field relies on the Aperture.

In simple terms, DoF is where the area of the image appears to be sharp or blurred.

A wider aperture will provide blurred background and sharp foreground or also called shallow depth of field while a smaller aperture will provide you sharp on both ends.

Photo by fstoppers

Shutter Speed

Once the light is in, the Shutter Speed decides how much light is going to be utilized.

Shutter speed depends on what you are shooting. A fast shutter speed is good for moving objects while a slow shutter speed is for night shooting.

One effect that shutter speed yields, the motion blur. These can be usually seen in films when the camera quickly pans from one side to another.

Photo by Thierry Bornier


ISO is the sensitivity of the image to light. ISO ranges from 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600, 3200, 6400.

By increasing the ISO value, it also increases the exposure, however, it decreases the image quality that results in a grainy image.

A lower ISO value is less sensitive to light with less noise or ‘grains’ on the image while a higher value will deem otherwise.

Photo by whiteonricecouple
Photo by whiteonricecouple


Exposure is simply determined by the three – Aperture, Shutter Speed, ISO. It determines how light or dark an image will appear.

Images can result to overexposed or underexposed depending on the settings.

Overexposure is where the image intends to be brighter than it should be while underexposure eliminates the light – appearing to have a darker image.

Photo by whiteonricecouple

Sure, the automatic mode can save you a ton of task when trying to snap a photo.

However, by tweaking and experimenting the three factors of exposure, you can get a better image or probably an out of the ordinary shot that auto-mode cannot do.

{References: Cambridgeincolour.com, digital-photography-school.com, expertphotography.com, Photographylife.com}

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