I’d like to share a photo-recipe for when high ISO can’t be avoided. In our CONFIDENCE Workshops, we teach women to shoot with the lowest ISO–when possible. The “when possible” is the key to that sentence. The lower the ISO, the more buttery, creamy, saturated your color is. But is the high ISO bad? Not necessarily. A high ISO can definitely have its place. Yes, the higher ISO will give you more of a “grainy” texture rather than smooth color. But grain isn’t necessarily bad “all” the time.
When we are learning photography, it’s easy to search for all the rules. We want to become better photographers, as fast as possible. We tell ourselves ‘If I just figure out what NOT to do, then I can relax more and not look so silly.’ We think that by learning the rules, we will gain confidence that much faster. But often the opposite happens.
We are online into the wee hours of the night, and we dig and dig for all the things we are NOT supposed to do. We write those rules down, and without realizing it, we hyper focus on how to NOT break the rules rather than feeling free to create. Instead of gaining confidence, we are terrified of making a mistake. And since beginning photos are often all about making mistakes, we talk ourselves out of taking pictures.
Exhale. Close your eyes while exhaling even deeper and picture yourself making room within you to make mistakes, to bend the rules, to color outside the lines, and to fall in love with discovering why you love taking pictures. This space is where magic can breathe.
Here is a high ISO photo that I shot.
If you look close, you’ll notice the graininess in the image. I shot this at 1600 ISO on the Sony a55. Does the graininess bother me? Quite the contrary. I actually like how it adds even more character to the photo.
The girls had just come home from playing at the beach. They jumped in the warm, outdoor shower. The sun was setting fast which means not a lot of daylight left. My ISO was 1600, Shutter Speed was down to 1/60th (or 60) of a second, and Aperture was f 3.2. If I wanted more light, I would have needed to pop my external flash. But an external flash would have changed the look and feel I was going for–much more than a higher ISO.
This high ISO image works for me. I LOVE this moment. My niece’s middle name is Twilight, and I love that twilight was fast approaching as the girls giggled in the shower–twilight was my inspiration for not brightening this image more than I needed to in post process. Playing, creating, experimenting, discovering–all pieces that keep photography alive and new for me.
As we embark on our photography journey, we are going to create a space within ourselves that allows magic to breathe deeper and discoveries to happen. There are definite guidelines for taking great photos or running a successful photography business, but they are guidelines. Joy is what brought us to photography, but so often the stress of getting better eats away at our joy.
One step at a time. Yes?