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It is not about your camera settings!

Muong Hum valley in North Vietnam

It is not about your camera settings!

Some things I hear and read way too often when people get in touch with me.

“Hi Etienne, great photos. Can you please tell me what camera settings did you use?”

I do really appreciate that, people telling me they love my pictures. It is very gratifying and keeps me motivated to keep writing and shooting. But I would like people to understand that photography is not about having a big and expensive kit and knowing camera settings.

A young Vietnamese girl portrait

Soft girl

-“Oh, nice photo! What camera settings did you use?”

– “Well I used a shutter speed of 1/125, an aperture of f2.8, and ISO of 100

– “Oh cool, I see!”

– “Oh wait a minute. Maybe it was 1/250 and ISO 200? Oh, and I think the aperture was f2.0.”

– “Oh ok, now I understand… It’s the ISO!”


Burmese men working the rice in Pindaya, Myanmar


 “And look at that one! My camera has an awesome shutter speed that could capture it!”

Photography and mostly Travel photography requires a little more than camera settings. To get some pleasant photos it is about being at the right place, at the right time. It is about knowing and reading light, waking up at crazy hours of the night, being patient, getting in touch with people, spending 36 hours in buses, getting dirty, having a sense of composition, knowing our environment, coming up with projects, getting a lot of cool shots by accident, anticipating our subjects actions, and spending a hell lot of time in front of a computer.

Camera settings in that, won’t help you a bit until you press the shutter.

Yeah, I know, another photo taken with a great Metering mode!

Panorama of temples and balloons in Myanmar

Balloon ride


Founder of Pics of Asia, Etienne is a teacher with a photography habit.


  1. Serge Bibeau on February 25, 2015 at 7:39 pm

    Tellement vrai!
    So true!

  2. Susan Moss on February 26, 2015 at 9:26 am

    Wise words Etienne

    I saw this shared on my local Snap Happy Facebook page today!

  3. Joanne Martin on May 1, 2015 at 10:07 am

    Ha ha ha, I remember someone asking me if I took such a nice photo cause I had a nice camera. I asked if she was able to bake such a nice cake cause she had such a nice oven. But saying that my photos are not so nice as yours. Your camera must be much nicer then mine:)
    Thank you for your kind care in Feb. My mom never had a better holiday.
    I hope to introduce you to my husband soon

  4. Pics of Asia | The thing about the ISO on August 2, 2017 at 10:20 am

    […] about your final image and the work on the light and composition you have done. As I talk about here, photography is not about your camera settings. When I see your image and I tell myself “Wow!”, […]

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