Understand the Basics of Camera Settings With This In-Depth Tutorial

Break away from your camera’s auto mode and learn the basics of manual camera settings to get total control of your photos.

So, you’ve decided to move on from your smartphone camera and get a DSLR or mirrorless camera so you can practice photography more seriously. After figuring out your camera’s controls, you can either start shooting right away on Program or Auto mode, or get full control over how your photos will turn out by learning how to set the aperture, shutter speed, and ISO. If the second option sounds interesting to you, we have just the right tutorial to help you get started.

Put aperture, shutter speed, and ISO together and you get what is called the Exposure Triangle. Each of these three variables will affect how your photos will look like, so having an understanding about how they work with light is paramount. Tony Northrup explains and demonstrates in his quick but detailed tutorial below.

The video tutorial in a nutshell explains how the elements of the Exposure Triangle work with light, and how one setting affects the image, and the rest of the settings can compensate for it. To demonstrate this relationship, Northrup experiments with different settings, and even Program mode, shutter priority mode, and aperture priority mode to compare results. For example, when working in a bright setting, you have to either set your shutter speed faster or your aperture smaller (higher f-number).

Working in Manual mode allows you to set the shutter speed, aperture, and ISO as you see fit to get a well-exposed photo. Basically, a slower shutter speed causes blur; a wider aperture lets in more light; increasing the ISO or light sensitivity makes your picture brighter. Getting the settings wrong can cause potential problems for your shot, so the tutorial covers how you can compensate for each scenario and avoid issues like blur, noise, and over or underexposure.

If you want to do your own experiments and see for yourself how it all works, you can replicate the setup by Northrup here and make sure you have a dimmer switch so you can easily control the brightness of your light source.

Check out Chelsea and Tony Northrup’s YouTube Channel for more of their tutorials and photography videos.


Screenshot image from the video