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This is going to be a three part series on how to get the best pictures from your DSLR.  Using just one of these alone will not give you the quality that you are looking for.  But all three with some pratice will have you well on your way!

Part 1- ISO Settings

What is the ISO Setting, and what does it do?

ISO is simply your Film Speed and Film Sensitivity to light.  I know you have your fancy digital Camera...and it doesn't have film, but the principals still apply.  Most Cameras now have an ISO settings of 100,200,400,800, and 1600.  The bigger the number the more sensitive it is to light.

How do I adjust the ISO Setting?

Go into your Shooting Menu, (the camera icon).  Select ISO Sensitivity Settings.  If your DSLR has an Auto ISO Sensitivity turn it off.  Select ISO Sensitivity and click OK on the setting that you would like.

What is the right ISO Setting for my situation?

There are 3 main situations to take pictures in.  They are very general in discrpition because every picture is different every time. 

ISO 100 and 200 are used for outdoors in sunlight.  ISO 400 and 800 are used for Cloudy, Dawn/Dusk, or Sunrise/Sunset.  ISO 1600 or higher is for Night or Very Low light.

Why adjust the ISO Setting?

This will allow you to get the best resolution on your picture.  Using to high of an ISO Setting will result in a grainy or blown out photo.  To Low of an ISO will result in a dark or high shadow picture.

Do I need to adjust the ISO for a Flash?

No.  The flash is used to fill light into shadows.  Use the same ISO setting for the conditions. 

Two common situations for use of a flash with different ISO Settings.  Taking a picture during Sunrise or Sunset and your Subject is silhouette.  You want to make your Subject visable.  Set your ISO setting at 400, or 800 and use your flash.  This will fill the silhouette.  Second is the Dark.  Set your ISO at 1600 or higher to get the effect that you are looking for.

-Richard Traugott
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