You might have the best camera in the world, however, if you don’t use the settings properly your photos won’t turn the way you want. Auto mode is quick and easy, but is that enough? If you have a DSLR camera, it is best to play with the DSLR camera settings to make the most of it.

It might be take some time to learn all these settings on DSLR, but once you know the basic rules, it gets easier. There are so many factors that can affect the photo quality. Photography setup, the camera setting and the final adjustments with a software can affect the quality of the photos. With DSLR cameras, you have many options, however, fancy camera doesn’t mean anything if you don’t know what you are doing. Playing with DSLR camera settings are fun, you learn a lot and the images can be quite arty.

DSLR Camera Settings

Aperture (f-number)


Do you know what is depth of field? It is one of the important terms that you might want to remember. Depth of field refers to the range of distance that appears acceptably sharp. You can basically decide how focused you want your photos. If you you want one point to be focused and the rest blurry, you should have wide aperture. Having wide aperture (e.g. f/2.8) will minimise the depth of field. When you have small aperture(e.g. f/30), it maximises the depth of field so the everything on the background will be focused rather than blurry. Just make sure to stabilise your camera when you are using small aperture, otherwise it might turn all blurry.

When I take blog photography, I want the products to be on the focus and the rest blurry, so I use wide aperture. Values are usually around f/3.2 to f/5.6. These values depend on the lense you have, so you might not get as wider peratures as you want.

Exposure Values (EV)


Whether you’re taking your photos in a really dark place or bright one, it is impostant to get the exposure right. Automatic settings won’t exactly satisfy you. What’s exposure value though? In photography, exposure value(EV) is a number that represents a combination of a camera’s shutter speed and f-number, such that all combinations that yield the same exposure have the same EV value (for any fixed scene luminance).

Think that you want really bright photos, however, the cloudy gloomy sky doesn’t give you the best light. What will you do? It is best to start playing with that exposure values then. In order to get bright photos, you need the camera to absorb the light as much as possible. You need positive EV values and long exposure time. With positive EV, white will appear whiter. Good, isn’t it? Bare in mind that, having positive EV means having slow shutter speed(long exposure time). You need to keep the camera still or just use tripod.

Depending on the light, I usually use EV +1 to EV +1.7, at least then I am in control with the brightness of the photos.

Shutter Speed

What’s shutter speed? Shutter speed or exposure time is the length of time when the film or digital sensor inside the camera is exposed to light. This setting comes handy when you want blurred out photos. For instance if you want to take photo of the moving traffic at night, how the shutter speed should be? Having slow shutter speed means long exposure time. This will give colourful, arty and catchy photos.  So in a way for brighter photos in dark places, having slow shutter speed is better than having fast shutter speed. Fast shutter speed is best for capturing the moment blur free. Again if you are using slow shutter speed, it is best to stabilise the camera.



ISO value determines how responsive the image sensor is to light. The higher the value, the more responsive it is and the more grainy the photos get. Higher ISO values are usually used in the dark/darker places in order to get quick photos (faster shutter speed). Think that it won’t be easy to capture moving objects blur free if you have lower ISO values.

I usually use the auto mode for this one, however, you can always change it to get crispy grain free images or grainy ones. When you are indoor and want to freeze the moment, then higher ISO values are better.


There are so much to learn and I am still learning. When things don’t go as the way you want, don’t give up, just keep trying. Also when you get the settings right, it will all pay off. As you could see all of these settings are connected somehow. Changing one setting will affect the other, so the quality of the photos are determined by all these factors.

What do you use to take photos? Dou you use automatic mode or play with your DSLR camera settings? Is there anything you struggle with the photography?

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