Tips + Tricks

Basic Camera Settings: Example Lighting Scenarios

Basic Camera Settings: Example Lighting Scenarios

Understanding the functions of your camera is DIFFICULT! But, it doesn’t have to be. In this post, I’ll show you what my camera settings are for each & every lighting situation you can possibly imagine.

So…let’s dive in!!

Don’t want to read this post? Check out my Youtube video on this topic instead!


Lighting Scenario: Direct Sunlight

Direct sunlight happens when the sun is at it’s absolutely highest, so depending on your location… anywhere from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. When I’m shooting direct sunlight, I always keep my ISO as low as possible! I’ll adjust my shutter higher in order for me to keep my low aperture (so I can get some niiiiice bokeh).

Settings for this photo:

ISO: 50 F/2.0 Shutter: 1/1600


Lighting Scenario: Shade

When the sun is covered by clouds & creates a nice shade, this is a great time to get evenly lit photos. When I shoot in the shade, I keep my ISO lower but I won’t go as low as the previous examples (ISO 100). I find that ISO 200 is perfect for shady situations! My aperture stays low for stylistic purposes, which means I needed to bump up my shutter high to get proper exposure.

Settings for this photo:

ISO: 200 F/1.8 Shutter: 1/1000


Lighting Scenario: Indoors with Window Light

I find that when I’m inside for photos, windows with lots of natural light are my best friend! In this scenario, I needed my ISO to be higher than it was outdoors, which is why I went with ISO 320. I left my shutter higher at 1/640, since first looks can be pretty fast paced and I wanted to capture everything crystal clear!! My low aperture was to let in enough light for proper exposure.

Settings for this photo:

ISO: 320 F/2.2 Shutter: 1/640


Lighting Scenario: Indoors with Limited Light

For this image, I found that my subjects needed to be facing away from the window in order for me to have enough room to shoot!! As a result, the lighting was darker since the window was behind my subject. I had my ISO at 500 to give my subjects enough light, which is also why my shutter was low at 1/320. My aperture was cruising a little higher than normal (f/2.8) so I could get the bridal party also partially in focus.

Settings for this photo:

ISO: 500 F/2.8 Shutter: 1/320


Lighting Scenario: Very Limited Light

This is a CLASSIC situation when photographers think: “How in the world am I supposed to get photos of this?!??!”. A sparkler exit is a great example of limited light, and for this photo I had my ISO as high as it could possibly go (ISO 1000). Then, my aperture was as LOW as it could go to let in as much light as possible. I tried to rock a shutter speed that was still fast (so my subjects wouldn’t be blurry), but low enough that I wasn’t darkening my image.

Settings for this photo:

ISO: 1000 F/1.4 1/320


Want to see even more lighting scenarios? Check out this Youtube video highlighting more details on these important camera settings!

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