Tips for Choosing ISO Settings Outside

Are you needing help with camera settings in manual mode? For those of us with basic camera knowledge in manual mode, it can still be challenging to choose camera settings in the moment, especially with the added challenge of changing light or moving children!  It takes practice to become comfortable quickly choosing settings and we're here to help you get there!  We're going to break some tips down according to lighting situations over the next few weeks in a way that will help you decide how to choose the best settings in real life situations!

QUICK REVIEW

The exposure triangle (ISO, shutter speed and aperture) all work together to create a balance to create the exposure of your photograph. Changing one of these settings will change the exposure of your photograph. Find our previous posts explaining ISOAperture, and Shutter Speed if you need an extra review to jog your memory! 

QUICK TIPS

The following quick tips are about ISO. Remember that you want to keep your ISO as low as possible for image quality purposes. We recommend staying well under ISO 1600 to avoid noise, which is a fuzzy, pixelated look to the photo. 

Here are several outdoor lighting situations and some suggested setting tips to help you get started the next time you're snapping photos outside! 

1. Full Sun. In most cases, outside in full sun, an ISO of 100 is necessary to bring about the exposure triangle. Full sun puts so much light onto the camera sensor that a low ISO and high shutter speed are required. As a result, a shutter speed of at least 1/1000 can be expected. In some situations such as the beach or a bright snowy day, an ISO of 100 and a shutter speed as high as 1/3200 is necessary.

ISO in Full Sun ,  Tips for Choosing ISO Settings Outside  by  Kindred Photography Workshops , photo by  Kacey Gilpin

ISO in Full Sun, Tips for Choosing ISO Settings Outside by Kindred Photography Workshops, photo by Kacey Gilpin

2. Golden Hour. The hour after sunrise and the hour before sunset, otherwise known as "The Golden Hour", is the most photographer's preferred shooting time because of the soft, diffused light. An ISO setting ofaround 640-800 is a great place to start!

ISO During Golden Hour, Tips for Choosing ISO Settings Outside  by  Kindred Photography Workshops , photo by  Hazel and Haze Photography

ISO During Golden Hour, Tips for Choosing ISO Settings Outside by Kindred Photography Workshops, photo by Hazel and Haze Photography

3. Shade on a Sunny Day. Similarly, shade provided by buildings or trees are preferred shooting locations because of the diffused light it provides- bright enough for sufficient light, yet absent of harsh shadows or dappled light.  In these two lighting situations, your camera's sensor will detect less light than in full sun. In this case, you can lower your shutter speed and raise your ISO settings from the settings described in "full sun" the situation above.  An ISO setting of 200 is a great place to start! If you exposure is still too dark, you can lower your shutter speed as well to compensate.

ISO in the Shade on a Sunny Day, Tips for Choosing ISO Settings Outside  by  Kindred Photography Workshops , photo by  Kacey Gilpin

ISO in the Shade on a Sunny Day, Tips for Choosing ISO Settings Outside by Kindred Photography Workshops, photo by Kacey Gilpin

4. Overcast Day in the Open. Hip hip hooray for cloudy days! Clouds provide the perfect diffuser and create an ideal lighting situations at just about any time of the day.  ISO 200 is a good place to start on an overcast day out in the open. 

ISO on an Overcast Day in the Open, Tips for Choosing ISO Settings Outside  by  Kindred Photography Workshops , photo by  Kacey Gilpin

ISO on an Overcast Day in the Open, Tips for Choosing ISO Settings Outside by Kindred Photography Workshops, photo by Kacey Gilpin

As with every skill in life, practice is key! We hope the examples provided are a great jumping off point to help you practice your manual mode photography skills and further your ability to tell your story through photography! 

Stay tuned for the next post featuring ISO tips indoors!

With Love,

Angela + Kacey