By now hopefully you’ve seen the post talking about ISO. Its important to always shoot with the ISO at the lowest setting (usually 100) in order to keep the data in your image as clean as can been (with as little digital noise as possible).
When you shoot using a tripod you will almost always be able to set your ISO at the lowest setting. However when you are hand holding (which I know you food bloggers out there love to do) there will be scenarios where you are going to have to raise the ISO because there simply isn’t enough light to hand hold your camera. As a reminder, you can not hand hold your camera with the shutter speed any slower than 1/60th of a second and believe me I’ve tried many times only to end up with blurry images. I personally can’t shoot slower than 1/125th of a second.
So what do you do? You’re losing light, you’re at the widest F-stop your lens will go (let’s say 5.6) and now your shutter is so slow you’re getting blurry images. Now you have to raise your ISO to compensate for the loss of light. When you raise your ISO you are telling your camera there isn’t enough light so make that digital chip more sensitive. You’re sort of asking the camera to see more light. As I mentioned in the previous post ISO in a digital camera is emulating days of film and is referring to the film speed we used to use. When you raise your ISO this will enable you to make your shutter speed faster so that you don’t get motion blur.
Here is what I suggest when this happens to you. As you are shooting and you realize you are getting blurry images from your shutter speed being too slow start raising your ISO and then start raising your shutter speed to at least 1/125th. Keep your f-stop the same. You are only changing two settings. Once you get your shutter to 1/125th of a second continue to raise your ISO until you get to a good exposure. You might have to move the dial that controls your ISO several clicks to do this. Take a shot each time so that you can see how much brighter your shot is getting each time you raise your ISO. The higher the number the more light your camera will see in the scene.
Most kit cameras (like the Canon Rebels) will go up to 1600 and some even higher. The higher end DSLR’s can go even higher. The cameras that are able to go to very high ISO’s are usually more expensive as well. It costs money to make a digital chip that can handle shooting at higher ISO’s. The new canon 5D Mark III can go all the way up to 128,000 ISO – which means you might even be able to hand hold your camera while shooting under candle light! That camera body is about $3500 so there’s price for this.
If you are constantly shooting in areas with low light (caterers often has this problem when photographing their food at an event) then a camera with the ability to go to a high ISO would be very beneficial for you.
Here is where my camera’s top menu shows my ISO – with some cameras this can be hard to find and you might have to start pressing some buttons to find it. In order for me to change that ISO I have to press the tiny button where it says ISO.+/- then at the same time turn the dial to the setting I want. Different cameras have different ways to change this setting so if its not easy to find you’ll need to look this up in your manual or simply goolge how to find it on your camera.