Even if you are not a photographer, a basic understanding of how a camera operates can lend a hand when preparing for a photoshoot, or when you are trying to understand the basic concept of a camera. The main thing to understand is that a camera is used to capture light to create an image. The art of capturing light is the fundamental component to any fantastic photograph. In this article, we’ll be going over some essential components of cameras and some photography basics.

Shutter Speed

The shutter is essentially the door to the camera sensor; shutter speed is a measure of how long the shutter opens on the camera. The longer the shutter speed duration means more light capture, while shorter shutter speed means less light. For example, twice as much light is let in when the shutter speed is set to ½ second as compared to a ¼ of a second.

black and white picture of a camera

This speed is also a measure of how far the subject of a picture moves during that time. Say you are taking a picture of a waterfall: if you set the shutter speed to 1/64th of a second, you will be able to capture individual water droplets that cascade off of the rocks. Set the shutter speed to a 1/3 of a second, and the camera will create a blurred image of the moving water, while maintaining a clear picture of the static subjects in the photograph (such as rocks that are not in motion). From a creative perspective, shutter speed can be utilized to create unique and stunning works of art. Shutter speed is also an essential component of our specialty, light painting.


If you look into a camera lens, past the eight blades, you’ll see a hole in the middle of the camera. This is the aperture! The camera’s aperture control utilizes the size of the hole to let in more or less light. The size of the hole is controlled by the camera blades that form the aperture. The aperture allows you to control something called the “depth of field” (DOF), which is an essential term in photography basics. A small aperture, which lets in a small amount of light, will allow objects (such as trees behind your portrait subject) further away from the main subject to appear in-focus. Conversely, if you use a large aperture size, the trees will appear blurry in the background. When images in the background become blurry, we call this a shallow DOF. When images in the background are in-focus, we call this a deep DOF.


The ISO refers to the film-speed, with higher numbers (such as 400, 800, 1600) being more sensitive to light. A high ISO rating is used for darker environments, while lower ISO ratings (50, 100, 200) help capture subjects lit by natural sunlight. Generally, a camera is set to a default ISO rating of 100. By amplifying the ISO signal, the camera is able to capture more light; however, high ISO settings can also cause a picture to become grainy thought a phenomenon called “digital noise”. This is to cameras as what background noise is to voice recordings.

camera lens Camera Basics

These three photography basics can help any beginner understand the fundamentals behind photography. By utilizing these elements creatively, photographers are able to mold real-life situations into spectacular works of art.

South Florida Photography

If you are interested in working with a professional photographer in South Florida,  contact the pros at Shot in The Dark, LLC today! We offer multiple packages for events ranging from corporate events and solo portraits, to wedding photography and parties.