Along with the aperture and shutter speed, ISO is one of the three fundamental components that controls light and exposure, but many people don’t quite get it. This video will help answer all your ISO questions.
I teach a photography course to sophomore students here in Japan and I always find it quite easy to explain what the aperture is and how it works, as well as the impact that shutter speed has on light entering your camera. But when it comes to explaining ISO, I often get more than a few blank stares coming back at me from students who look like I’ve just hit them over the head with a wet slab of salmon sashimi.
I always find that the easiest way to explain ISO to my students is to simply let them take photos using different ISO settings and then have them compare the results. However, even though this method of teaching ISO is effective in that they can see the level of noise and grain increasing as they gradually up their ISO settings on each shot, I’m certain they still don’t actually understand why it’s happening.
This video by Phlearn explains things very clearly and succinctly and even uses some Star Wars figures to get the point across. Who doesn’t love a bit of Darth Vader in a photography tutorial? So if you want to get out of shooting in auto mode, or you want to understand exactly what ISO is and how it works in conjunction with the aperture and shutter speed, then this video perfectly simplifies and demystifies things.