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ISO - The sensitivity of your digital sensor to the light that is present. The higher you set your ISO, the more sensitive the image sensor is to light, so cranking your ISO up will enable you to take pictures in lower light situations. However this will have an effect on your images. They will be "noisier" just like in the film days when your pictures were grainier when using higher speed films.

Tip: Always start on ISO 400 for equine photography.

Shutter Speeds - When photographing moving subjects, shutter speed is very important. You can freeze action by using a fast shutter speed of 1/1000 or you can show movement in your subject (panning) by using a slower shutter speed of anywhere between 1/60 and 1/250. The shutter speed you select and the results you get depend on the speed your subject is traveling, how far you are from your subject and the lens you are using.

1/1000 - f/5 - ISO 800

1/30 - f/11 - ISO 100

Shutter Priority - used when freezing action, panning, showing movement, light streaks.
When you select Shutter Priority, your camera automatically determines the correct aperture depending on the available light of the situation. You can test this by looking through your viewfinder, start out by pointing your camera at the ground. Look and see what the camera has selected for the correct aperture and now start moving the camera towards the sky. You should see that the camera is starting to close the aperture (the F number will be getting larger) because the light is getting brighter. As you can imagine the settings will be changing all the time depending on where you point the camera. The best part is that you don't have to worry about the aperture setting unless you begin underexposing or overexposing your image. Remember to always keep a watchful eye on the changing lighting conditions.

Basic settings for horse in motion or fast action:
  • ISO 400
  • TV (Canon) or S (Nikon) mode
  • 1/1000 shutter speed
  • Camera determines correct aperture
Aperture Settings - The aperture or f/Stop on a camera lens refers to the size of the opening inside the lens. The larger the number f/22 for example , means the lens opening is very small and will allow less light to enter. A small number, f/2.8 for example, means the lens opening is very large and allows more light to enter. Aperture and shutter speed settings always go hand in hand. If you open up your aperture to allow more light to enter the lens then the shutter speed will increase to allow less light. When you change aperture then shutter speed will change to compensate and produce a correct exposure. Zoom lenses generally have an f/stop range. They may go from f/2.8 - f/16. The maximum aperture will change with the zoom range. Expensive professional lenses will have a constant aperture throughout the range.

aperture priority - f/8, 75mm

aperture priority - f/4, 100mm
Aperture Priority - Use aperture priority when Depth of Field is important. Hide distracting backgrounds by blurring or other creative uses. Make subject pop out of picture.

When you select Aperture Priority, your camera automatically determines the correct shutter speed depending on the available light of the situation. This works exactly like Shutter Priority except the other way around. You can perform the same test scenario by pointing your camera at different scenes to view how the settings change.

Basic settings for still or slow moving scenes:
  • ISO 400
  • AV (Canon) or A (Nikon) mode
  • f/5.6 to f/8
  • Camera determines correct shutter speed


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