High ISO: It's Time to Rethink All the "Pitfalls" (VIDEO)

The craft of photography is full of long-held concepts and conventional wisdom that have proven helpful for years. But as technology, techniques, and editing software have evolved, some of these so-called "rules" deserve to be pushed to the wayside.

One good example has to do with ISO, and how higher settings will introduce noise and degrade image quality. But according to landscape pro James Vooght, there are several good reasons you should feel safe cranking up ISO within reasonable limits—depending upon the specs and capabilities of the cameras you use.

You've heard it all before: High ISO settings spoil photo by introducing image-killing artifacts and sensor noise. Always shoot at ISO 100. Images shot at ISO 6,400 and above will be awful. Blah, blah blah. If any of these notions resonate with you, pay close attention to this episode because you'll likely rethink your approach by the time the video concludes.

In barely seven minutes Vooght explores the history and theory behind the concept of ISO. He tackles sensor noise and discusses situations in which high ISO settings can be your ally without a big sacrifice in image quality. In short, it's no longer a matter of only using high ISO as a last report when prevailing conditions make lower settings "impossible."

Vooght also provides valuable insight into the "Expose to the Right" technique, that is capable of transforming your photography skills—especially when shooting in low light. He puts it like this: "As photographers we must learn to work with—and not against—the challenges posed by the environment and the specific equipment that we have."

The fun part is that Vooght takes a unique approach with this vital lesson. As you might expect, he demystifies the concept of ISO and explains what you can achieve at high settings with proper technique using whatever gear you own. But, as you'll see, he goes beyond traditional lessons on this important topic.

Prepare to respond because Vooght throws down the gauntlet: "I want to challenge you to use high ISO creatively and embrace it whenever necessary." You'll be able to do exactly that by following his straightforward suggestions. Although you may want to reset your brain before resetting your camera to higher ISO settings than those you dared use before.

Vooght posts weekly videos like this, on a wide variety of popular topics, and you can find everything he has to offer by exploring his interesting YouTube channel.

And if you've never tried your hand at wildlife photography, be sure to check out the beginners guide we featured recently, with shooting techniques, gear recommendations, camera settings, and more.