Before You Scan Photos, Know How ISO Will Affect Your Image

Posted by ed oboyle on Sun, Jun 30, 2013 @ 06:00 AM

Before You Scan Photos, Know How ISO Will Affect Your ImageWe touched upon ISO in a previous post about noise problems. If you know how to control International Standards Organization (ISO) before you scan photos - a rating system that indicates how your camera reacts to light, used in digital and film photography - you'll have more time for summer projects!

As a photographer, you have the freedom to choose ISO settings based on situational lighting. Keep in mind that a higher ISO can add noise to your image, but sometimes, it’s necessary. Noise can be fixed after scanning photos, but there are ways to ensure positive, original image quality.

How Does ISO Work?

Depending on whether you use a DSLR or film, there is a sensor in the camera that captures light. In each sensor, there are millions of pixels. In one megapixel (MP), there are exactly one million pixels. You’ve probably heard of a camera having either 12 MP or 24 MP.

Your first thought may be to choose the higher MP camera, but the lower MP camera is actually more efficient at gathering light because the pixels are larger. What this ultimately means though is that noise will begin to appear at a lower ISO. With a 24 MP camera, you can afford to use higher ISO settings with less noise – referred to as grain in film – which comes from the electric charge that allows the sensor to receive light. 

There are two types of noise in digital photography:

  • Luminance

    This type of noise affects the brightness of the pixels and appears as standard noise.

  • Chroma

    This type of noise affects the color of the pixels and appears as colored dots.

Both forms of noise can be fixed with photo editing software.

ISO Recommendations

Practice makes perfect - use different ISO settings in an array of lighting situations to get a feel for your camera’s sensitivity. Here are some recommended ISO’s for typical situations:

  • Outside and sunny: 100-200

  • Outside and cloudy: 200-400

  • Bright interior: 400-800

  • Nighttime: 1600-6400

  • Indoor sports: 1600-8000

Ideally, you want to shoot at the lowest possible ISO depending on the light. When you raise the ISO, you risk a noisy image, but it may be worth it just to get the shot, as you can always edit noise out during the photo scanning process. Understanding how your camera responds to light is essential to understanding how to control ISO.

Once you’ve mastered your personal camera settings, scanning photos will be a breeze. Print out extra images for a craft day, family gathering, or whatever your heart desires. The possibilities are endless once your images are backed up.

There are a few different ways to scan photos, but we take care of the scanning and editing for you. If you’d rather do it yourself, we’ll still be glad to provide some valuable tips, simply check out some of our helpful blog posts and you’ll be one step closer to the (right) light!


Topics: ISO, Digital Imaging Techniques, scan photos

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