New to photography


I am currently enrolled in a photography and recently bought a Nikon D3400. I am really struggling with ISO and aperture. The class is more about technique than how to actually use the camera. I bought the Nikon D3400 for dummies book but anyone else have any helpful suggestions?


Expedition Leader
Basic Basics

At 90 mph:

Every image wants the same amount of light.

-- The shutter regulates that light by changing the TIME that the sensor (or, in the old days, the film) receives light. More time, more light.

-- The diaphragm regulates that light by changing the aperture, or the SIZE of the opening. Bigger opening (small f number) the more light.

-- The ISO is a measure of the SENSITIVITY of the sensor (or, in the old days, film "speed.") The higher the ISO number, the more sensitive ("faster) the sensor.

Grossly, all are reciprocal, that is you can trade one for the other. Each, however, has a secondary effect, that that is why you use one or the other for effect.

-- Fast shutter "stops" motion (think sports), slow shutter blurs the motion. (think silky waterfall picture)

-- Wide aperture creates shallow depth of field, only a small part of the image is in focus. (portrait, perhaps, so that the background blurs) Small aperture creates sharper image and greater depth of field. (landscape)

-- Higher ISO is "noisier" and creates a grainer image. But grain may be better that a blurry image because you can't hold the camera steady, long enough.

Fairly easy to understand, takes a lifetime to develop the instincts to know when to use which. Hope this helps.


Expedition Leader
That is a perfect explanation. SO the next step is to ask what you are trying to capture:
Motion - fast or slow
How much in focus - this can change with focal length, but larger number f stop, more in focus
How much light is there? Slower shutter means any motion in picture might be blurred, lower f-stop (smaller number) but will have to raise ISO to stop action with a "kit" lens with variable aperture 4.5-5.6 for example.

Enjoy learning and making mistakes. Practice a technique if it is a once in a lifetime chance. I photographed the sun multiple time before last year's solar eclipse, just practicing my workflow/technique before the couple of minutes of action.

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