ISO, Focal Length Co. - How to easily keep track of countless camera settings


Should you take a picture in backlight? Which aperture is best used for night photography? What are the optimal camera settings? And anyway, what are the aperture and ISO values ​​for? Knowing which camera settings you need in which situation is not that easy.

Intelligent automatic for photography beginners

Of course, there are now many cameras - especially for beginners thought - you lose these settings and have automatic programs. So you only have to take pictures in the intelligent automatic mode and the digital camera decides which settings are needed.


However, if you set the appropriate values ​​yourself, you have more influence on how your photos ultimately look. It's also a lot more fun to play around with the camera and to understand what kind of setting it serves. And actually it is not that complicated to set the appropriate values ​​for each situation by the manual setting.

In this article, we first want to give you an overview of the different camera settings and explain what the aperture, ISO values, focal length, etc. are. In the second part we have put together some donkey bridges around the camera settings. This also knows photography beginners what settings must be made in which situation.

What are aperture, shutter speed, ISO value and focal length?

Blende bezeichnet man die Öffnung im Objektiv durch welche Licht auf den Bildsensor fällt. The aperture is the aperture in the lens through which light falls on the image sensor. Depending on how far you open or close the aperture, either more or less light is transmitted.

As the aperture value increases, the aperture decreases. If a photo is overexposed, too much light has been transmitted. Is a photo too dark, too little. In addition, the aperture regulates the depth of field in the photo. This increases the farther the shutter is closed.

The shutter speed or exposure time regulates how long light falls on the image sensor. The longer the shutter speed, the higher the risk of blurring the images. Therefore, a tripod should be used at longer exposure time. The different shutter speeds have different effects on the final photo.

Short shutter speeds "freeze" fast motion, while slower shutter speeds make dynamic movement more blurred. It can therefore roughly be said that long exposure times are more likely to be deliberately blurring (eg running water) or poor lighting conditions (eg night shots) and short exposure times during fast movements (eg sports or wildlife photography), lots of light (eg on the beach or in the snow) and long focal lengths are selected.

ISO-Werte drücken die Lichtempfindlichkeit des Sensors aus. The ISO values express the photosensitivity of the sensor. Low values ​​like 200 or less are well suited for taking photos in good lighting conditions. For example, on sunny days outdoors. But if the lighting conditions get a bit worse now, you can either continue to open the aperture, increase the exposure time, or just set the ISO values ​​higher.

Photo: Pexels

The higher the ISO value, the more photosensitive the sensor reacts. ISO 400 - 800 are often used for interiors or overcast days, values ​​from 1600 are mostly used in low light conditions. Keep in mind, however, that with increasing ISO number increased image noise and you can see in your pictures depending on the camera quality a more or less severe loss of detail.

The focal length is basically the distance between the focal point and the lens. The following applies: The larger the focal length the smaller the image section. Normalobjektiv hat eine Brennweite von 50mm, dieser Wert entspricht ungefähr dem Blickwinkel des menschlichen Auges, daneben gibt es noch Weitwinkelobjektive und Teleobjektive. A normal lens has a focal length of 50mm, this value corresponds approximately to the viewing angle of the human eye, in addition there are still wide-angle lenses and telephoto lenses. The focal length you use depends on your own preferences.

Remembering made easy: photographic wisdom for proper photography

So much for the definitions. Now you may wonder how to memorize this relatively large amount of information. For this we have collected some nice and funny donkey bridges for you. So you can easily remember which attitude you need when.

  1. No flash - aperture 2.
  2. If the lighting conditions are poor and you have no flash, you should open the aperture relatively wide. So much light hits the sensor.
  1. Fast Animal - Iris 4.
  2. If the aperture is wider open, the shutter speed will decrease. This "frozen" fast movements.
  1. Aperture under 3 - background porridge.
  2. This setting is especially helpful in portrait photography. The shallow depth of field ensures that the person in the foreground is in focus and stands out from the background.
  1. When the sun is shining, take Shutter 8.
  2. When the sun is shining, the aperture should be relatively small (f8.0), so that not too much light hits the sensor. So the photo is not overexposed. You can also use this setting when taking photos in the snow or on the beach.
  1. Aperture 8 also at night.
  2. To have a uniform depth of field on your photo, the aperture should be at least f8.0 at night. In addition, the exposure time should be relatively long - do not forget the tripod! Otherwise there is a risk of camera shake.
  1. If you want to see flowing silk, you have to turn up the shutter speed.
  2. In order to make the water look like flowing silk when photographing waterfalls, etc., you have to take pictures with a long exposure time.
  1. Almost night - aperture 2.8.
  2. In low light conditions, the aperture must be wide open, so that the shots do not blur and a lot of light hits the sensor.
  1. If there is no sun in the viewfinder, you still have the lid on it.
  2. Happens everytime ..
  1. If no image stabilizer is installed, the image is messed up freehand.
  2. To make your photos sharp without a tripod, your camera should definitely include an image stabilizer. This counteracts the blurring of the images.
  1. Do you change the position, the picture looks very different already.
  2. A change of perspective has never hurt photography. This changes the view of your subject and you may find that the new perspective is much better suited to your photo.

The ideal camera settings do not exist

You probably already noticed when reading the blog article that there are not the ideal camera settings. It depends on the lighting conditions, the weather, the perspective, the subject and many other things with which settings you photograph. However, you now know how to avoid under- or overexposed photos, and which camera setting you can change if you are dissatisfied with your photo result.


As a tip, we can give you one more thing on the way: Grab your camera and test the different settings yourself! If you practice what you've read, chances are even higher that you'll remember the cues when you need them, and you'll know which camera shot you need when. In addition, even trying out is much more fun than just reading!

Alexander Eser

Alexander is a freelance author and online entrepreneur who takes up topics from various fields in various guest contributions.


  • Great tips. Donkey bridges do the best thing !!! Many thanks

    • Hei Andrea,

      We thank you for this great feedback and wish you good light and lots of fun while taking photos.

      Best regards,
      Conny and Sirko

  • Just very understandable and well written (just for a trailer) .. for such "tips" I was looking for. Thanks a lot!

    • That makes us very happy 🙂 We take your nice comment as an opportunity to publish in the near future, many more articles in this segment.


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