Photo SFX Art Explains Aperture, Shutter Speed & ISO

Welcome to Photo SFX art! Taking stunning and amazing photos that will turn heads and drop jaws does not have to be difficult once you understand the fundamentals of photography. This is why we will first cover the 3 basic settings of photography in this Photo SFX art post.

Fundamentals of Photography

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Good thing that capturing artistic photos does not require any acrobatic skills.

The 3 basics of photography are aperture, shutter speed and ISO. Mastering these is a vital requirement in order to be able to take beautiful artistic photos. At first this technical words sound intimidating. But don’t be scared, once you understand them they will become second nature and you don’t even think about them that much anymore, just like riding a bike or speaking a (foreign) language.

1 The Aperture

First we talk about the aperture. The best thing to compare the aperture to is the iris of an eye. Your iris becomes bigger in the dark in order to let more light in. On the other hand, if the light is bright, the iris will get smaller to make sure you are not bothered by the light.

This is exactly the same function the aperture has in a photo camera: it controls the exposure.

But besides exposure the aperture also influences the debts of field. A low aperture value like 1.8 for instance will create a very short depth of field. This is typically used for portraits to keep the focus on the persons’ face. An aperture of 22 on the other hand will blur out the background much less and thus give a large depth of field which is ideal for panoramic landscape pictures for example.

2 Shutter Speed

The second thing we want to talk about here on PhotoSFXart is shutter speed. Just as aperture it also controls how much light gets in. But here it is not a matter of size but a matter of time. The shutter always opens to the same size but it can open for a longer or a shorter period of time.


Before the digital age, ISO was used to measure the ‘speed’ or sensitivity to light of the film. What remains the same is that the higher the ISO value is, the less light you need to take a correctly exposed photo. The ISO adjustments on your digital camera are basically a setting for the light sensitivity of the camera. The disadvantage of capturing a low-light subject with a high ISO value is that the picture contains more ‘noise’ because the camera has less light to work with.

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