How ISO and shutter speed impact exposure.

Unlock exceptional photographs with this helpful information about ISO and shutter speed.

Exposure can be tricky to nail at first. Generally, it comes down to three main elements — aperture, ISO, and shutter speed — and it’s fun to play around with them to discover new techniques. Use your aperture settings to adjust the depth of field, then use these guidelines as a jumping-off point.

ISO is your camera’s sensitivity to light.

ISO values are one of exposure’s primary elements and they represent how sensitive you want your camera to be. ISO numbers in the lower hundreds mean less sensitivity and less graininess. ISO numbers in the thousands are more sensitive and yield more graininess.

When you’re outdoors and have plenty of natural light, keep your ISO value low for a high-quality, softer finish. But if you’re indoors and light conditions aren’t great, try a cranked-up ISO value for additional brightness. Just watch out for graininess and noise that can sometimes result from higher ISO.

Shutter speed is how long light hits your camera.

Your camera’s shutter opens and closes like a sliding door. This affects exposure because when it’s open, light can flood the camera. The longer it’s open, the slower your shutter speed is — and it’s measured in seconds (and fractions of seconds).

Slower shutter speeds get you blurry lights and motion-blur effects. Think blurry headlights on a highway or artsy light trails. Conversely, faster shutter speeds let you freeze motion with little to no blurriness. Picture an athlete running on a field, perfectly sharp and paused in time.

If you have issues adjusting aperture, ISO, or shutter speed during a shoot, you can manipulate the photos later in an image editing app for better lighting. You can also discover more about photography to learn how professionals capture high-quality photos in the moment.

Then, explore everything you can do with Adobe Lightroom to edit your photos into perfection.