Camera Settings Explained

Camera Settings Explained

  1. Home
  2. Tips
  3. Camera Settings Explained
There are three main settings: Aperture, Shutter speed and ISO


Aperture controls the depth of field, which pretty much means how blurry you can get the background. If you see an “f” stop number on your lens, that’s the aperture. A low number like 1.4 or 2.8 means the background of your shot will be nice and blurry, with a shallow depth of field. A low number is often referred to as a wide aperture, or a ‘low f stop number.’ This is good for keeping the focus on a single person without having any distractions in the background.

Many people love lenses with a low f stop, as lots of light comes through the lens, which makes it easier to shoot in low light conditions. An aperture of around f8 or f11 is usually good for groups of people where they can be in focus, and the far background can be a little bit out of focus. A high aperture number like f16 or f22 keeps everything in focus and is great for landscapes. Just remember, the higher the number, the more in focus everything will be.

Shutter Speed

Shutter speed controls how fast the click happens when you take a photo. Just so you have a basic understanding, if the shutter is fast such as on 1/300th of a second, it’s great for capturing action shots like in sports, whereas a slow shutter speed such as 1/15th of a second will create motion blur for more artistic kind of shots. For video as a general rule, just leave it on 1/50th of a second.


The last setting is ISO, which you will need to adjust depending on how much light there is where you are shooting. Always keep the ISO as low as possible, such as on 100 or 200 if there is plenty of light where you are. But if you’re in a darker situation, bumping up the ISO to a higher number such as 1000 or 1600 will let in more light, so that more can be seen. The downside of this though, is that your shots become grainy and lose quality the higher the ISO goes.

‘Look and think before opening the shutter. The
heart and mind are the true lens of the camera.’

– Yousuf Karsh

This concept can be hard to get your head around at first. When you adjust one setting, it messes with the light and then the other settings need to be adjusted accordingly.

Have a play around on your camera. Leave your shutter speed on 1/50th for now, and adjust the ISO and Aperture, and see how that affects the look of your shot


Learn More About Our Services

Related Articles

Ready to get started? Fill in this form and we will be in touch:

Spent two days working with the team at the first C&I Expo in Auckland recently. Highly recommend them. Great to work with and very professional.

Johan Kok

Great company, very professional and friendly. Would recommend highly

Cham Tang

Download the 6 Tips For Presenting on Camera

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Download the New Heights Media Speaker Packages

You have Successfully Subscribed!