Okay here is a scenario: You’ve just start your photography journey and become super excited in taking some awesome images. Then you realize that you actually like this and want to start creating great photos which means you want to take your photography to the next level. Sound familiar? Since we live in a world of instant gratification, we are always trying to find the easy and quick 1,2,3 method for making great work right? Here is the truth:

If you wanna take great photographs, you have to master this skill.

After working in the field for a couple of years I realize that I had to master one important skill in order to make my work phenomenal! My mentor who is a great photographer taught me this when I was in high school and I still go by it to this day. The key stones of mastering your own photos is this:

You need to know your reciprocals. 

Reciprocals? What the heck are reciprocals? Reciprocals are your Aperture, Shutter Speed & ISO. These are the pillars of creating great work and stepping out of automatic settings. Now because this topic is huge and we can go forever talking about this but here is a small crash course on what these do and why they matter:

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Credit to Shutter Mike

* Aperature is the hole within a camera lens which light travels through. So the smaller the number (like F/1.8 or F/2), the more light comes in. The larger the number (F/16 or F/22), the less light comes in.

* Shutter Speed is the length of time the camera is open to let light enter into the camera. The faster the shutter speed (1/1000 sec), the short amount of time light can come through. The slower the shutter speed (1/2 sec), the longer it takes for the shutter to close which means more light is coming through your camera.

* ISO if the level of light sensitivity of your camera. This is what makes your images more true to the setting around you. An ISO that is 200 and lower is meant for outdoor shooting. ISO from 400 – 800 is for indoor shooting. And ISO from 800 and up (sometimes even to 3200) is for shooting at night.

Study, memorize and understand how these three pillars work together, especially if you want to go from good to great!

If you are still having issues understanding, this summer I am going to be hosting some workshops that will do in-depth to how these keys can create some amazing work. In the meantime – go out there, learn your camera, get to know your reciprocals and watch your photography sky rocket into awesomeness!

Let me know what you think in the comments below.

Til’ next time,