Still the best photography cheat sheet we’ve found online.



It is often said that everyone is a photographer these days. As consumer cameras become more affordable and smartphones become more sophisticated, we are all addicted to the clichés of our everyday lives.

That’s why modern smartphones come with powerful tri-camera dies, with the new iPhone 13 Pro being one of the best yet (check out our iPhone 13 Pro review for more). With such powerful photographic tools at your fingertips, it makes sense to learn how to use them. And while the auto modes will do a decent job of capturing a scene in front of you, handling all shooting situations and doing something special, you need to jump into the manual and learn how to use a camera’s settings. And this also applies to a smartphone!

Manual photography infographic:

This infographic demystifies manual camera settings

That’s where this excellent infographic from Skylum comes in. We first noticed this how-to guide this year, but it’s still the best photographic cheat sheet we’ve found online, as a clear visual explanation of the exposure triangle.

Every time you take a photo, you are balancing three things. First, the shutter speed, which is literally the speed at which the shutter opens and closes, usually expressed in fractions of a second.

Second, the aperture, that is, the opening width of the lens, and therefore the amount of light it lets in. It is expressed as an F number, formatted like this: f / 2.8. The lower the number, the wider the opening.

Third, the ISO, which is the sensitivity of the sensor. A higher ISO value means the sensor is more sensitive to light, but it also causes more image noise, which is digital graininess that makes photos muddy. ISO is expressed as a numeric value, which doubles for each exposure stop. ISO 100 is typically used in daylight, while ISO 800 and above is typically needed for nighttime shooting.

Manual Photography Infographic: Settings

It’s about balancing your aperture, ISO and shutter speed

So if you want an ethereal bokeh effect, you’ll need a large aperture of at least f / 4 to create a narrow depth of field, fairly low ISO, and a shutter speed of at least 1 / 60; Skylum also suggests keeping a good distance between the subject and the background, and having a light source in the background to create that blurry look.

On the other hand, for a sharp shot you will need a narrower aperture between f / 11 and f / 16, an ISO sensitivity between 100 and 400 and a very fast shutter speed of around 1/2000. Keep in mind, however, that between aperture and shutter speed there is a limited amount of light reaching the sensor, so if your first few photos turn out a bit dark, you will need to increase the ISO. to compensate.

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The trick is that all of these values ​​affect other aspects of an image as well as exposure as well, and if you are adjusting one for aesthetic reasons, you have to adjust the others to compensate. Fast shutter speeds like 1/500 s or 1/2000 s allow you to freeze the fast action, but let in less light, so using one will mean you have to open the aperture wider and / or increase the ISO.

Likewise, aperture controls depth of field, which basically refers to how much the image is in focus (on a horizontal plane between the subject and the camera). For example, portrait images where the person’s face is in focus and the background is cleverly out of focus have shallow depth of field – meaning the aperture has been opened very wide, probably at least f / 2 , 8, and if they have an expensive lens, maybe even wider at f / 1.8 or f / 1.4. This will let in a lot of light, so the photographer will want to use a low ISO and / or a fast shutter speed to compensate.

Skylum’s infographic provides a useful visual way to remember all of this and provides some tips for different situations. Once you have mastered the points of the exposure triangle, you can stop thinking of them as rules to follow and start seeing them as tools in your toolbox, all of which can be used creatively with different effects.

Of course, shooting these days is only half the process – a lot of photography happens during editing. Luminar AI from Skylum is one of the fastest editing programs thanks to its machine learning tools. Check out the latest software offers below:

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