Shooting in the sun: the best ISO settings.

Understand how ISO, shutter speed, and aperture work together for your sunny day photoshoot.

ISO is a measure of your camera’s sensitivity to light. It’s one of three foundational photography exposure pillars, along with shutter speed and aperture.

Shutter speed and aperture affect how much light your camera lets in, while ISO affects how sensitive your lens is to that light. Together, these three basic functions control how your camera reacts with its surroundings. Understanding how they work together helps you take stunning photos in every type of setting.

ISO basics.

Every camera has a different range of ISO values, sometimes called ISO speeds. The more you increase your ISO value, the brighter your photo will become. The lowest value on your camera is your “base ISO,” and most DSLR cameras have a base ISO of 100 or 200. You should generally use the base ISO to get the highest image quality, while adjusting your aperture and shutter speed to affect how much light your lens is letting in.

ISO rules for a sunny day.

Lower ISO is always preferable for shooting in a well-lit scenario. If your camera’s too sensitive to light, you’ll end up with a fuzzy, washed-out image.

Once you have your low ISO set, follow the sunny f/16 rule, or Basic Daylight Exposure (BDE), for your ideal shot. This rule determines that your lens aperture should be set to f/16, with a shutter speed of 1/your selected ISO.

According to this sunny day rule, if you’re using ISO 100, the shutter speed should be 1/100 and the aperture should be f/16. This rule generally produces the best-exposed front-lit photos on a sunny day.

Learn more about lenses.

Learn more about how lenses and light affect each other, and experiment with edits in Adobe Lightroom to heighten their visual impact.