Photography NCFE Level 1 Class 4 – Composition & ISO

Photography Class 4 – Composition & ISO

In this class we re-capped on:

Depth of Field

Depth of Field depends on:

  • Aperture
  • Focal length
  • Distance from the camera subject

All of these elements work together at the same time.

Shallow Depth of Field:

  • Small aperture number
  • (zoom in) longer focal length
  • Get closer to the subject

Longer Depth of Field:

  • Change aperture to a higher number
  • Use shorter focal length (zoom out)
  • Move further away from the subject

This makes Aperture priority as a setting one of the most useful ones.

Depth of field

We then moved on to:

ISO – stands for International Standardisation Organisation

There are a few settings on the camera which affect the light entering it.

This week we used the light compensation on Aperture Priority.

To re-cap:

  • Low aperture number = faster shutter speed
  • Increase the aperture number and exposure time will be longer.

The 3rd setting responsible for exposure in the camera is the ISO.

  • Aperture                                         )
  • Exposure Time (shutter speed)        )   All of these are responsible for exposure in the camera.
  • ISO                                                )

One has to get the right combination.

ISO = Sensitivity of the sensor to the light.

We were then asked to make sure that within our menus that the ISO was not on automatic anymore.

ISO values

The values that you will find on your camera are for example:

50   100   200   400   800   1600   12800   25600 etc

The lower the number = lower sensitivity = more time needed to record the photo (increased shutter speed) (longer) = camera shake possibility.

The higher the number = faster shutter speed.

ISO Depth of field

Shutter Speed

4″ 2″ 1″ 1/2 1/34 1/8 1/15 1/30 1/60 1/125 1/250

” = seconds

no ” = fraction of a second

When you are in Aperture Mode Priority as a user, you set up Aperture + ISO, the camera sets up the Shutter Speed value for you.

Therefore if it is dark and grim outside increase the ISO.  By changing the ISO you therefore change the Shutter Speed automatically.

To control brightness of the photograph use the exposure compensation button = shutter speed.  You will find this as a +/- button on the top of your camera usually.



A higher ISO value usually results however in lower picture quality, you will see when you zoom in that it is grainy.

Therefore lower ISO value = better picture quality.  So it is a balancing act to get the lowest value with enough light.

Portrait/Landscape photography will use as low ISO as possible.

Higher ISO settings can be used in low lighting and you want to record movement free subject (ie recording movement/static)

Setting the camera up for shooting with Aperture Priority we had to:

  • Check ISO setting & put to the lowest
  • Choose the Aperture which depends on:
    • Depth of field
    • Movement (lowest ap for movement)

The lowest ap shows the fastest shutter speed that your camera will go to on the given ISO.  If it is not fast enough then increase the ISO.

A faster lens means it will go to a lower aperture number.

  • If the shutter speed is not fast enough then increase the ISO.

Photography Composition

You can find out more about photography composition here:  Photography Composition

Below is taken from the above link:

It may sound clichéd, but the only rule in photography is that there are no rules. However, there are are number of established composition guidelines which can be applied in almost any situation, to enhance the impact of a scene.

These guidelines will help you take more compelling photographs, lending them a natural balance, drawing attention to the important parts of the scene, or leading the viewer’s eye through the image.

Once you are familiar with these composition tips, you’ll be surprised at just how universal most of them are. You’ll spot them everywhere, and you’ll find it easy to see why some photos “work” while others feel like simple snapshots.

  • Rule Of Thirds
  • Balancing Elements
  • Leading Lines
  • Symmetry & Patterns
  • Viewpoint
  • Background
  • Depth
  • Framing
  • Cropping
  • Experimentation

Composition Homework

Homework this week is to incorporate the following compositions in to our photography but also to use focus locking whereby you press halfway down to get your focal point and or move to frame it the way you wish.

  1. Rule Of Thirds
  2. Leading Lines
  3. Framing


Rule Of Thirds

I for some reason found this interesting to shoot, or at least at the time I did.


OSO 100 f/5.6 50mm 1/13 sec

Love this man’s smile, he was also a great sax player!

Photography Class 4 - OSO & Composition

OSO 12800 f/5.6 1/160 sec 55mm

London Pride Sculpture, love it!

Photography Class 4 - OSO & Composition

OSO 800 f/4.5 1/200 sec 35mm

My extremely naughty pug.

Photography Class 4 - OSO & Composition

OSO 3200 f/4.5 1/8 sec 55mm

Leading Lines

Skateboarding at Southbank = always fun, especially if a dog is pulling you.

Photography Class 4 - OSO & Composition

ISO 800 f/14 1/40 sec 48mm

Mind the gap!

Photography Class 4 - OSO & Composition

OSO 800 f/3.5 1/1250 sec 18mm

Photography Class 4 ISO & Composition

ISO 800 1/400 sec1/14 sec f/14 55mm


Yep, I know desperation called for me to photograph a drain.  I found framing quite hard oddly!

Photography Class 4 - OSO & Composition

OSO 800 f/5.6 1/60 sec 55mm

A pun on framing, couldn’t resist.

Photography Class 4 - OSO & Composition

OSO 100 f/4 0.8 sec 23mm

As always please feel free to join in, or just enjoy at least I hope.

I am certainly having fun.

You can catch up on my other photography classes here:  Photography Classes

Justine x


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