Skip to docs navigation

01.03 Basic Camera Settings

3 Main Camera Settings

In photography , there are three main camera settings that photographers need to understand to be able to control a camera and take the photographs they want. Photographers need to know how to control shutter speed, aperture, and ISO.

Shutter Speed

Shutter speed is how long the camera lets light in. The longer the camera stays open, the more light will come in and affect the exposure. A fast shutter speed will also freeze motion, while a slow shutter speed will allow for motion blur and trailing artifacts of objects in motion.


Aperture is the hole in the camera that lets light in. This can be large or small. The larger the hole is the more light is let in and makes a shallower depth of field, or area in focus.


ISO refers to the sensitivity of the digital sensor in the camera. A higher ISO means the sensor will react to lower levels of light. If the ISO is too high, then digital noise can be created.

With these three settings, you can understand how to use most still cameras. Each camera manufacturer will have these settings and slightly different places, but the basic principles are the same.