Camerasettings for beginners

This week has been about leaving automatic mode and taking control of your camerasettings.

Still feel confused? Don’t worry. Go out and practise instead! That’s the beauty of our digital cameras – we can try and try and try again, and delete the ones we don’t like! Little by little you’ll get better. Promise.



I have made a sort of “cheatsheet” for you, to use as a starting point:

Portrait, ”blurry background”: ISO 100. Aperture priority mode. Aperture f/3,5 (or larger). Make sure the shutterspeed is at least 1/80, if not choose a larger aperture (first choice) or increase ISO (second choice). Faster shutterspeed than 1/80 is not a problem 🙂

Portrait, sharp background: ISO 100. Aperture priority mode. Aperture f/8 or smaller. Make sure the shutterspeed is at least 1/80, if not increase ISO. Faster shutterspeed than 1/80 is not a problem 🙂

Action: ISO 200-400. Shutterspeed priority. Start at 1/500 och test if it’s enough to freeze motion, if not increase step by step. If the aperture gets larger than f/3,5 it may be hard to keep your object in focus, increase ISO to get a smaller aperture if this is a problem.

Action poor light: To maintain a fast shutterspeed you will need to increase ISO, and this may result in poor quality. Get top notch gear, or for those of us that have low budget: try to get the best possible compromise between shutterspeed, aperture and ISO.


The dog is blurry. Is the shutterspeed fast enough? Is your focus off?

-The eyes are sharp, but the nose is blurry (or other way round). Choose a smaller aperture, or step further from the dog. Or decide that it’s OK 🙂

-The background is sharp, I want it to be blurry. Choose a larger aperture, or step closer to the dog, or place the dog further from the background

-The photo is too dark. It is underexposed, you have chosen a combination of settings that is out of your cameras range. Let in more light by using a slower shutterspeed, larger aperture, or increase ISO.

-The photo is too bright. It’s overexposed, too much light comes into your camera. Lower ISO, increase shutterspeed, or choose a smaller aperture.

Download your own free PDF-cheatsheet! Perfect to keep in your phone…



Coming up: Putting your knowledge to use: an easter photo challenge! Follow my own photo step by step.