What Should I Set First in Photography?

In photography, there are a few key things that you need to set first in order to get the perfect shot. The most important thing to set first is your aperture. Aperture controls the amount of light that enters your camera, and it also affects the depth of field in your photo. A higher aperture will result in a lower depth of field, which means that objects in the background will be blurred. Conversely, a lower aperture will result in a higher depth of field, which means that objects in the background will be more visible.

The next thing you need to set is your shutter speed. Shutter speed determines how long your camera’s shutter is open for when taking a photo. A longer shutter speed will result in a greater amount of light entering the camera, but it will also mean that any movement by either you or your subject will be captured as well. A shorter shutter speed will result in less light entering the camera, but it freeze any movement, giving you a sharp image.

Finally, you need to set your ISO setting. ISO controls how sensitive your camera’s sensor is to light. A higher ISO setting will mean that less light is needed to produce an image, but it also comes with the trade-off of introducing more digital noise

ISO. A rule of thumb for me is that my ISO is always going to be set as low as possible

The reason for this is because the higher your ISO is set, the more grainy your photos will become. And while some people may like the look of grainy photos, I prefer to keep my photos as clean and sharp as possible.

Now, there will be times when you’ll need to bump up your ISO in order to get a proper exposure. For example, if you’re shooting in low light conditions or trying to freeze a fast-moving subject, you’ll need to increase your ISO accordingly. But in general, I always try to keep my ISO set as low as possible.

Aperture. If I want the background in my images to be blurry, that means my aperture is going to be as low as possible

When about aperture, lower numbers mean more light can enter the camera. This is why a low aperture is often used for landscape photography, as it allows more of the scene to be captured in focus. A high aperture, on the other hand, will result in a shallow depth of field. This means that only a small portion of the image will be in focus, while the rest will appear blurry. This can be useful for portraits, as it helps to isolate the subject from the background.

Shutter Speed

There is no single “correct” shutter speed to use for all situations. The best shutter speed to use will depend on the specific conditions you’re shooting in and what you’re trying to achieve with your photo. Experimentation is key to finding the right shutter speed for each situation.

White Balance

There are two ways to set white balance: manually or automatically. Most cameras have an Automatic White Balance (AWB) setting that does a pretty good job of getting it right most of the time. However, there are times when you might want to override the automatic setting and set white balance manually. For example, if you’re shooting in a situation where there’s a lot of artificial light (like indoors under fluorescent lights), you might want to set white balance manually to avoid getting a greenish-looking photo.

To set white balance manually, you’ll need to use your camera’s menu system to select the appropriate setting. The options will vary depending on your camera model, but typically you’ll see choices like “Daylight,” “Shade,” “Fluorescent,” and “Incandescent.” Selecting the right setting will ensure that your whites appear accurately white in your photo.

I'm a photography enthusiast with a passion for classic film cameras and writing. I believe that photography is a powerful tool for storytelling and I strive to create images that are evocative and meaningful. I hope you enjoy my work!