All the settings on your camera may appear overwhelming at first, but the three main things to understand on any camera are the Aperture, Shutter and Sensor settings.

1. Understanding aperture

The aperture of a camera down to the lens you are using and is measured in f stops. A wide aperture is a low number on the f scale – this means the amount of light able to get into the camera is at a maximum, the depth of field is also quite shallow (sharp focus but blurry backgrounds). On the other end of the scale, a high f scale number is when there is a tiny amount of light getting into the camera but the depth of field is great (both the subject and background will be in focus).


2. Shutter speeds

The shutter of the camera flips the mirror up allowing the light to hit the sensor, then the mirror flips back down again – the speed at which the mirror flips up and returns back down again is the ‘shutter speed’. For a longer shutter speed, there is more chance of more light hitting the sensor and motion being capture in the image. On the other hand, the faster the mirror is flipped up and back down again, the less time light has to hit the sensor so images are able to freeze motion.

shutter speed

3. Sensor

What exactly is a sensor? The sensor is the plate that the light hits once the mirror has been flipped up to capture the image. The sensor itself has different settings to vary its sensitivity. The sensor settings are measured on an ISO scale – a low ISO setting gives low sensitivity with less noise, a high setting gives a higher sensitivity but more noise.



When you play about with each of these settings you will understand how they link to each other, the below image shows how different Aperture, Shutter and Sensor settings are required to get the right photo.


It doesn’t matter what sort of camera you are using – film, camera, digital camera, even a smartphone, the image composition is important for it to be seen as a ‘good’ photo.

Imagine being on holiday with a once in a lifetime view, you want to take a few photos to treasure the memories but you rush it and they don’t turn out great when you get round to looking at them when you get home. Taking a little bit of time to frame and compose your photos pays off and gives you some amazing photos to capture your memories.

Follow our top three tips and see if you get an improvement in your photos – don’t be afraid to move things that may be in the way of your photo too…

The rule of thirds

composition - the rule of thirds The rule of thirds is a way of dividing an image up to give it structure and is one of the most talked about ways of composing a photograph.

The important part of the image should be positioned either along one of the lines or where the lines intersect each other. On most cameras or camera apps nowadays, you are given the option to display a grid similar to the one shown on the left – this helps you to compose your shot and get a level and well-structured image.



Using natural lines
composition using natural lines
Use the lines within the subject of the photo to let your eyes easily flow around the scene.

Take a look at the subject and see if the lines draw your attention to anything specific – use those lines in the composition of your photo to guide peoples eyes through the photo.

Remember lines don’t have to be straight, it could be a curvy road from one corner of the photo to another.



using symmetry for composition Look for lines of symmetry when taking photos – they can look amazing if you get it just right, but don’t be afraid to experiment with different angles.

Some lines of symmetry are man made, others natural – and the most spectacular are the unexpected ones – for example two swans on a lake facing each other looking as if the photo is mirrored.



Now you have some ideas on how to compose your images, get out and have fun experimenting! Let us know in the comments if there is anything else you have found to be useful…