Photography Tips (use ISO, not your flash)

Lately I’ve had several people ask me about taking pictures (me! – crazy, I know).  I want to just lay it out there that I’m not an expert – not even close.  But what little I know I’ll gladly pass along.  I’ll try to do a few of these “photography tips” posts in the future. 

So, where to start.  In the class I took, the teacher emphasized “if you learn nothing else, just remember : NEVER SHOOT ON THE GREEN SQUARE AGAIN” so that’s where I want to start.  Grab your camera – is it set to the “green square” setting?  Also know as Full Auto.  If it is, this is for YOU.

Switch your camera to the “P” setting, also known as Program.  In my mind, program is the “auto setting for the manual modes” – it works like auto, but you have control over a couple of things.  Most importantly, the flash will not pop automatically.  When taking pictures, ALWAYS try NOT TO USE YOUR FLASH.  If you use your flash, it looks like a point-and-shoot picture, no matter how nice your camera.

So, back to “P” and the control you have to change a couple of things.  Today I want to talk about “ISO” which is film speed, but you can think of it as how much light your camera lets in.  The higher the ISO, the more light, the brighter the picture, and the ability you have to take a picture without the flash. 400 ISO is average.

So try this.  When you’re inside, in a room with a window, take a picture on the Green Square – your flash pops, right?  Now, switch to “P” and bump up your ISO to 800 and take a picture.  To change the ISO there should be an “ISO button” right on your camera somewhere – push it then scroll to 800.  So take your picture – better, right?

Here are just a couple I snapped this morning (they are SOOTC which means “straight out of the camera” which means unedited):

Flash used on the left, 800 ISO used on the right.  Now, I want to point out that the kids are sitting pretty close to the window so I think if I used a 400 ISO they wouldn’t be as blown-out, but I knew I was going to be talking about 800 ISO so I wanted to show that.
So your assignment this weekend: practice with ISO.  Take the same picture with different ISOs and see how it can give you different results.  Even take a few with your flash so you have something to compare.
Let me know if you have any questions!
Thanks for checking out this post from – – click on over to read it in its entirety – you’ll love it!

Thanks for Reading


  1. says

    I was actually experimenting with my camera a few days ago wondered about the ISO. Thanks for the tips. (Keep them coming!) :)

  2. says

    Great info! Thanks! I got my fancy camera for Christmas and have it set on the green square- oops! I am hosting a camera party at my house soon and a photographer friend is going to go over the basics for all us moms who have no idea how to use our cameras! But this info will give me a good start! Thanks!

  3. says

    Thank you Mandy. Little tips like this are so helpful when first learning and i like that you dont talk in confusing terminology. Hope you keep up with the hints. Very helpful.
    Thank-you :)

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