Photography 101: Shutter Speed- A Low Light Technique



Thanks for stopping by my blog! This is the second entry of my Photography 101 series. Today we are going to talk about Shutter Speed! You can have a lot of fun with shutter speed. This post is more focused on long shutter speeds with inanimate objects… for the most part. First we have to discuss what shutter speed does.

Your DSLR camera has two things called curtains. The first curtain begins the photo capture by allowing in light. The second curtain is what signals the end of the photo capture by stopping the light. That is a very basic explanation of what the curtains do. For a more in depth explanation, please click here. How does this affect your photos? I’m so happy you asked! First let’s see how it affects the exposure.

Shutter Speed Exposure

As you can see in the diagram, slower shutter speeds make a brighter image. This is because there is more time between the curtains, letting in more light. The faster the shutter speed, the darker the image.

Let’s connect ISO and shutter speed. Do you remember that candle photo I asked you to take in my previous post? Did you have a bit of grain in it? Yeah, most likely you did. Take that candle and light it in a dark room (remember, safety first! Don’t burn down your house). Take your camera and put it on ISO 100. Take the shutter speed and set it to a full second. Since you have a very long shutter speed, you will need to have a tripod or a solid surface on which your camera can rest while it capture the photo. Ready? Set…. Go!

Finished? Here are my results…

1/125 Shutter Speed, 2.8 f-stop, 6400 ISO

1 second Shutter Speed, 2.8 f-stop, 100 ISO
Do you see the difference?

What are your results? If you remember, a low ISO setting causes a darker photo, but less grain. A slow shutter speed will brighten the photo, because it lets in more light. Pair these two together, and you will get a well exposed photo with minimal grain. Whoa!!! Awesome. This works well with still objects and a stable camera.

This technique is a life saver if you are photographing weddings and the room is dark. Here is a reception hall at a recent wedding I photographed. It was candlelight, and beautiful, and this technique is a must!


This is also a good technique for photographing stars! I love star photographs. Again, you will definitely need a tripod or solid surface your camera can be placed while aimed at the sky. I did this one with a 30 second shutter speed, 3.2 f-stop, and 400 ISO. Now if you look closely, you can see the stars are making trails. Click on the photo to enlarge it, and you can see it more clearly. This is due to the earth’s rotation within 30 seconds. Yes, you can actually see the stars traveling across the sky! This is also a technique used for light painting… but more one that next time!


I hope you enjoyed this entry about Shutter Speed! I have two more entries to go about this topic, so stay tuned! Let me know your questions and post your results below!!! Thanks for reading! – Kristen

Haley- A Styled Bridal Session in Destin, FL



Thank you for coming by my blog! This is the fourth rewrite since switching blogs. This session was to provide an example for brides on how a bridal session may look. The lovely Haley helped me, and I love the end product! We drove to Florida together, and we went to Santa Rosa Beach first. The rain was pouring! We sat for probably an hour waiting for the rain to stop. Then, Haley had the brilliant idea of driving to Destin!

We would be driving west and hopefully beat the rain. So, we went, and thankfully the rain had just stopped in Destin, and we started towards the beach. It was about five minutes until sunset, so it was already getting dark. Add on the overcast, it was getting dark fast! Well, that is one reason I shoot in RAW. You wouldn’t know how dark it was by looking at the final portraits. Just in case you’re curious, here is the photo straight out of the camera…


Crazy dark for a light and airy photo session, right? We only worked for about 20 minutes, but I love the photos that came from this session! I hope you enjoy Haley’s Mock Bridal Shoot!

Thank you or reading! Check out my website!

Victoria & Adrian- An Engagement Session in Dothan, AL


Thanks for coming by my blog! This is the third rewrite since changing blogs. Let me just say, I absolutely adore this couple. They are so sweet, and so fun loving. I love working with them! This engagement session was photographed back in the Spring. Look for them again in October! I will be revealing Victoria’s Bridal Session right after her and Adrian’s ceremony!

Thank you for reading! Be sure to look at my website!

Little Miss E- A Portrait Session in Dothan, AL


This is the second blog entry I am rewriting since I changed sites. This is Little Miss E- and she’s is adorable! She is my friend’s daughter, and so much fun! The session took place in the Dothan Botanical Garden. I love this place! I had an engagement session there as well. There are so many options for portraits. My personal favorites of Little Miss E are the two black and white photos at the end. Let me know which are your favorites in the comments below!

Savanah & Rob- A Wedding in New Brockton, AL


I met Savanah and her mother back in February. I truly believe God brought us together for her wedding. I feel blessed just knowing this family and I pray for a beautiful marriage for the bride and groom. Savanah always wanted a beach wedding, but it was very important to her and Rob to be married in their church. With a lot of hard work, their family and friends brought the beach to them. This was a candlelight ceremony, and it was absolutely gorgeous.

I had so much fun at this wedding. I was laughing so much, and everyone was so wonderful. I know there will be years of happiness ahead for the bride and groom. Stay tuned for more of Savanah and Rob! We will be doing an Ever After Session soon! Tell me which are your favorites in the comments below! Thank you for reading! – Kristen

Jordan & Gray- A Wedding in Dothan, AL


Here is my first post that I am rewriting because I switched blogs. This is Jordan and Gray’s wedding. Here is the story…

I get to the venue, The Peacock House, and start photographing some details. The rain is falling, but nothing too harsh. The sky clears up for a few hours prior to the ceremony and it’s beautiful outside. Then, the radar shows a huge red circle heading straight for us. We had about an hour.

The ceremony doesn’t start for another hour. So, it gets moved up 30 minutes. The ceremony goes smoothly, but quickly, and we all get inside when the rain starts trickling. That trickle became a monstrous storm. Rain is crashing into the windows, we hear the roar of the wind against the house. I looked out the window, and I could see only water pouring down the glass. Then everything turns dark! A power failure! After a few more moments of everyone huddled together in the house, the rain subsides. We open the door, and a tree had fallen right in front of the opening. Guests start to go check their cars for damage. The power will not return for the rest of the evening. Did I mention this was my very first wedding as the Main and ONLY photographer? What a way to start!

Through it all, the bride and groom didn’t let it stand in their way. They still managed, through all of the chaos, to celebrate their love with family and friends. Such a great couple, and a memorable wedding! I hope you enjoy these photographs from Jordan and Gray’s wedding.

Thanks for reading! Let me know which are your favorites! – Kristen

Photography 101: ISO

ISO Image


Thank you for visiting my blog! This is the first entry of my Photography 101 series. In Photography 101, we will learn how to use our cameras. What you need is a DSLR, your camera’s manual, and a can-do attitude. This series is for the beginner. I am also working on Photography 201, which is learning about light. Check back often for updates.

First thing is first, take your camera off of Auto. No, really… do it now. Change your camera from Auto to Manual. It’s not so scary once it’s there. You there? Good! Now that you are on Manual, go read your camera’s manual about the settings of ISO, Shutter Speed, and Aperture (this may be referenced as F-Stop). Go ahead, I’ll wait. 🙂

Do you understand how to change your ISO, Shutter Speed, and Aperture? Great! You don’t need to understand what they are yet, just how to change them on your camera. Okay. Now, change your settings to the following:

  • ISO:100
  • Shutter Speed: 1/125
  • Aperture: 5.6

We are going to experiment with only ISO today. ISO is basically how sensitive your camera acts towards light. Here is a diagram that explains the affects ISO has on an image.

ISO Kristen D. Photography

There is a compromise on each end of the ISO scale. Low ISO gives you a clearer photograph, giving your more details. However, if you aren’t in a bright room or outside on a sunny day, the low end will give you underexposed photographs. On the other hand, high ISO will brighten your image, but will add noise (also known as grain) in your photo. Here is an example using my son’s train set.

ISO 100
ISO 100

ISO 6400

ISO 6400

I did adjust the shutter speed to keep the exposure the same in the above photos. Do you notice how the ISO 100 image has no grain? Now, look at the ISO 6400 image. Do you notice the added noise? The noise (or grain) comes from your camera amplifying the light available.

Let us look at how ISO affects exposure (how light or dark your image is, in brief). ISO usually begins at 100 and then doubles, with 1/3 stops between. In the following photographs, I kept the Shutter Speed at 1/125 and Aperture at 5.6. I only changed the ISO beginning at 100 and going to 6400.

ISO 100

ISO (1 of 9)

ISO 200
ISO (2 of 9)

ISO 400
ISO (3 of 9)

ISO 800
ISO (4 of 9)

ISO 1600
ISO (5 of 9)

ISO 3200
ISO (6 of 9)

ISO 6400
ISO (7 of 9)

Now it is time for you to experiment. Take your camera and photograph something in the room. It doesn’t have to be pretty, I just used my son’s train set. Start from ISO 100 and take the photo. Repeat the process at ISO 200, 400, 800, 1600, 3200, and 6400. I’ll wait. 🙂 Now, review your photos. Which ISO setting do you like the best for your photograph? I like ISO 800 for mine. Your’s could be very different, because the room in which you took your photos will have different lighting than mine.

Now for the second experiment. Is it sunny outside? If it is, then go outside and repeat the last experiment. I’ll be here when you get back. What did you notice about your photos? Did your photo start getting overexposed (overly bright) more quickly than your indoor photos? Most likely they did. That is because on a sunny day, there is much more light. Remember that ISO amplifies the light you have available. The more light you have, the more overexposed your image will be at high ISO levels.

So a general rule of thumb is to use lower ISO in bright situations, such as outside on a sunny day. Use higher ISO in darker situations, such as school plays.

Now it is homework time! Here is a list of photographs I want you to take and find the ISO you like for each photo.

  1. A flower on a bright, sunny day.
  2. A glass of water on your kitchen counter.
  3. A landscape on an overcast day.
  4. A candle in a dark room. (Safety first! If you are a minor, ask your parents for permission before lighting a candle. Take steps to ensure you don’t burn down your house.)

You can also experiment on your own. Find the ISO you like for each situation. Soon you will be able to say, “Oh! I need ISO 400 for this situation!”

Thank you for reading! Please post your favorite pictures in the comments below! Stay tuned for more in the Photography 101 series! – Kristen

How Choosing Your Wedding Photographer is A Lot Like Dating

Kristen D. Photography

Hello, again!

Are you about to dive into the beautiful and stressful world of wedding planning? I hope I can make the process just a little bit easier. Choosing your wedding photographer is a lot like dating. You don’t want to hire someone with whom you don’t get along. Have you ever been on an unpleasant date? All the signs are the same. Here we go…

  1. Mr. Not-So-Nice-Guy. Okay, if you are interviewing the photographer and he is really nice to you, but then turns to the waitress and is completely rude, you need to find another photographer. The last thing you want on your wedding day are complaints of your photographer being rude to your guests. Instead, find a photographer who is pleasant to everyone. It’s a great quality for anyone to have. Especially when they will have to be an authority in some situations on your wedding day.
  2. Mr. White Lies. You’ve probably dated someone who stretched the truth before. That someone who put on a facade to impress you may actually be a nice person, but little white lies are a red flag when searching for a photographer. In the photography world, the facade is usually tied in with plagiarism. This happens mainly with photographers who are just starting out, and want to get clients, but have no portfolio. So they go onto another website of a successful photographer and steal their images. So, my advice is to ask them to bring an album of a wedding they have done recently. Maybe even two, just so you can get a good idea about the quality of their work. If they deny this request without good reason, then it is time to look elsewhere.
  3. Mr. All-About-Me. You know the date who talks about himself… a lot? Yeah, that’s another red flag when choosing a photographer. This is the photographer who only goes over what he offers, and isn’t really interested in YOU and what you like. He will spend most of the time talking prices and sales. Look for a photographer who gets excited about your wedding.
  4. Mr. Nice Guy. This photographer is nice, and has a good portfolio, and takes interest in you and your wedding. However, just like not every nice guy is the one for you, this photographer and you just aren’t clicking. That is okay! There are plenty of fish in the sea.
  5. The One. You’ve already found “The One”. You are about to get married to him. You obviously don’t marry your photographer, but he or she will be with you much more than most wedding vendors. This is the photographer whom’s company you enjoy. You can laugh and talk about aspects of your wedding like you are speaking with a friend.

In summary, you want to hire someone who you enjoy being around. The photographer will be with you all day and is continuously interacting with you and your bridal party, family, and guests. Be sure the photographer clicks- pun intended. 🙂

Thank you for reading! I will be posting some photography tutorials in the near future! Come back soon! – Kristen