Thursday, May 28, 2015

It Doesn't Matter What Camera Settings I use

Keep Out The Sun - Tehachapi, California
I get asked often what camera settings I use to create my images. Also, I've been asked in the past why I don't give the setting details (such as aperture, shutter speed and ISO) for the photographs that I post.

Why does it matter what aperture, shutter speed, ISO, white balance, etc., that were used to create an image? If there is a shallow depth-of-field then I used a large aperture. If there is a large depth-of-field then I used a small aperture. If I froze motion in the image then I used a fast shutter speed. If I showed motion then I used a slow shutter speed. If there is a lot of grain or noise then I used a high ISO. If there is little grain or noise then I used a low ISO.

The only thing important about camera settings is knowing what they do. You cannot control the outcome of your photographs if you don't know how to control your camera. You must learn the basics. Beyond that, though, it doesn't make any difference whatsoever what settings someone used to create an image. The photograph matters, the way it was achieved doesn't.
To The Reader - Rosamond, California
Imagine trying to drive a car not knowing what the different pedals, knobs, switches, buttons and controls do. You wouldn't get very far and there is a good chance you'd wreck. But once you understand what all of those things do and how to use them to drive, does it matter to the other drivers which ones you are using at any given moment? No.

So it shouldn't matter to you what camera settings I used to create my photographs. Enjoy the images for what they are. And if you don't understand photography basics, go learn that. There is plenty of information on The Urban Exploration Photography Blog (and my other photography blog) about photography basics if you dig around. Learning the basics is the easy part, and learning what really matters is the hard part.

If you are beyond the basics of photography, then learn how to create art, learn vision and creativity, and understand the decisive moment. Those things matter. Equipment and equipment settings don't matter.

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