Have you ever been taking photos where the results are just too dark or completely blurry? The panic sets in and you have no idea which of the 20 buttons on your camera you need to adjust to fix it. The moment passes and you missed the shot.  Sigh.

Photography ISO Cheat Sheet

Let me first say that there are many variables that can send you into a state of photographic panic, so don’t expect this tip to be a one trick pony.  Although, knowing how to adjust your ISO will certainly save you and your polaroids on more than a few occasions.

ISO is a rating that determines how sensitive your camera’s sensor is to light.  A low setting, such as ISO 200, results in a low sensitivity.  On the other hand, a high setting, such as ISO 1600, results in a higher sensitivity to light (brighter image).

With that said, if you are trying to take photographs in a dimly lit room, bump up your ISO so your camera is more sensitive to the small amount of light that is available in the room.  Increasing your ISO will brighten the image.  Additionally, it will reduce the length of the shutter speed needed for a properly exposed image, which in turn will hopefully reduce the amount of blur in your image.

Example of Changing ISO Settings

However, there is always a trade-off in the photographic world.  The catch is that the more you increase the ISO number, the more noise or graininess will be introduced into the image.  Therefore, do not immediately jump to ISO 3200, test at ISO 400 quickly and incrementally increase the values only after a test shot to try and keep the amount of noise to a minimum.