What is ISO in Photography? The Complete Guide for Beginners

Updated on February 27, 2024 in Photography by

What is ISO in Photography? The Complete Guide for Beginners

What is ISO in Photography?

ISO in photography is a camera setting that allows you to control the camera’s sensitivity towards light exposure. With the help of ISO, you can increase or decrease the exposure (darkness or brightness) of your image.

For example, if you want your image to be darker, the ISO will be lower. Similarly, if you want your idea to be bright, the ISO will be higher.

Learning about ISO can help you capture some of the best images even if you are struggling with good lighting. You can increase camera sensitivity and it will add in more light, or decrease its sensitivity to make the image darker.

How to use ISO in Photography?

As we discussed, ISO in photography is used to add exposure to the image. But this comes at a cost. The image starts looking grainy and noisy. Something that usually no one is looking to see in a professional image. So, to use ISO properly, you’ll have to balance the softness and noisiness of the image.

Here are a few points that will help you understand the use of ISO in photography better.


When the ISO setting is at its low, no additional exposure is added to the frame. This setting allows you to capture the photograph without any graininess due to the camera. This is the best setting if you have a good source of light.

Normally the base ISO setting is 100, but in some cameras, you can artificially reduce it to make the image look much darker.

High ISO

How to use ISO in Photography? - high ISO photography

When the ISO setting is high, additional exposure is added to the frame. But as we discussed, it makes the image look grainy and noisy. So when can you use high ISO? Most of the time, you’ll be using High ISO with a faster Shutter Speed.

We know that faster Shutter speed results in taking snaps of moving subjects easily. But due to that, the image tends to seem dark. To counter the darkness, we can increase our ISO camera setting and capture the subject much more efficiently.

Is High ISO bad?

Generally speaking, yes high ISO can really be bad for regular images. When less light is hitting the camera sensor, high ISO will make the darker side of the image bright but this will result in noisiness in the image.

But in cases where you have ample light but are not able to capture it due to other camera settings, you can use High ISO to get better results.

What’s the best ISO for portraits?

The best ISO setting for portrait photography is between ISO:100 to ISO:400. Depending on the lighting, this ISO in photography will help you capture the depth without making the image look grainy.

Are ISO and aperture the same?

No, ISO in photography is the camera setting that increases or decreases the camera’s sensitivity toward the light. Whereas aperture in photography lets you adjust the amount of light that can go through the lens.

What is the normal ISO for photography?

The normal range of ISO for photography is between 100 to 1600. But with new technologies, the range has broadened. You can even go as low as ISO:50 and as high as ISO:3200

What is the best ISO for product photography?

For product photography, the best ISO setting is ISO:100. Since you’ll be capturing your product’s inefficient lighting condition (which you should) keep the ISO setting to 100 to ensure noise-free images.

Bonus Read

Setting up your camera to capture the best images is the most fun part. Be it playing with ISO in photography and changing the shutter speed. Finding the right match feels amazing. But the work is still not done, especially in the case of professional product photography.

There is one more step to get your images ready for your eCommerce and PixelPhant can help you with that. PixelPhant is a leading eCommerce photo editing service helping eCommerce edit their images faster and better. Take a free trial now to get the best product photo editing results in just 24 hours.

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