Camera Basics you need to know

Things you need to know in order to start shooting in manual

Aamer Seth


Photo of me by Annabelle Hartwich

Let’s say you’ve got your first camera, been shooting around in automatic mode and really enjoying it! But, now you want to explore, get more creative, have more control over your camera and start getting specific photos that you have in your head, saw on Instagram or maybe saved to your Pinterest board.

In order to do this, you need to start shooting in manual. Shooting in manual lets you have complete control over the camera so that you are able to calibrate the settings to get the shot that you want. In particular, you have control over four big things: ISO, Shutter speed, Aperture and White Balance.


ISO stands for International Organization for Standarization. However, to be completely honest, nobody cares what it stands for, and frankly most people don’t know. I just did a quick google search.

ISO is the camera’s sensitivity to light, and it ranges from 100–25,600. The higher the ISO, the more sensitive the camera is to light, which means the photo will get brighter. However, the higher the ISO, the more grain is introduced in the photo, so there is a give and take. Additionally, ISO also depends on the model of camera that you have. With higher end cameras, you are able to achieve a higher ISO with less grain, so thats something to keep in mind. While one camera may be able to shoot with 1000 ISO and have next to no grain, others cannot do the same.

Personally, when shooting indoors, I try and keep the ISO around 800. This allows for whatever natural light is present to shine through and have a well-exposed photo. When I am shooting outdoors, during the day, my ISO is around 100 since sunlight is pretty strong. I am someone that doesn’t really like grain in their images, but I know plenty of photographer do, so it really depends on your style and what you are aiming for.

Shutter Speed

Shutters speed is how fast the photo is being taken. A photo is captured from the time that the shutter opens and the shutter closes. Usually, photos are captured in a fraction of a second. By having manual control over the camera, you are able to choose how fast you want the picture to be…



Aamer Seth

A young University student very curious about many things and here to share his thinking. Interested in Photography, Technology and sharing stories.