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Photography Tip #2- Exposure

Hello there fellow photography lovers! Today I would like to talk about exposure and what all those terms mean. Exposure is your correct lighting. In order to obtain the lighting you want, it is a balance of 3 things. ISO, Shutter Speed, and Aperture (depth of field) You can adjust any one of these in order to acquire the correct or the exposure you are looking for. Depending on what you are shooting, will determine which one you want more control over. The following explains them all

ISO- This would be in the old film days, your film speed. It is how sensitive your film ( or now with digital, your sensor ) is with the light. The lower the number the less sensitive. In other words, it takes a lot of light to make a photo. The higher the number, the more sensitive , so lower light conditions, it doesn’t take much light to make a photo. For example, you would do the lowest number in bright sunlight. So on a sunny day 200 is a good ISO. And in the shade you could go to 400 or more. I usually start with this. Then depending on what I am doing will adjust the other 2 accordingly. But if you want the other 2 variables to be in such a way that you are not getting a good exposure, (correct lighting) you can always adjust this too.

Shutter Speed- This determines how much light is used by how fast/slow the shutter closes. This is important for control of stop motion. The faster the shutter speed, the more you can capture something in motion without blur. This is important for things like sports. What is important to know when you are shooting still objects, is how low you can go with the shutter speed on your camera without getting blurry photos. No one can hold a camera completely still. There is some shake. I have been told you can go as low as 1/60 of a second with shutter speed before the camera shake is visible in your photos. Personally, on my camera, I have found I cannot go that low. So it may take some trial and error with your camera.

Aperture- This determines how much light is used by how wide open your shutter is. The larger the opening the lower the number. This number is called the f-stop, and can be recognized by the letter f in front of the number. For example: f5.6. So f5.6 is a larger opening than f8. Therefore, f5.6 is letting in more light than f8. This is important in figuring your exposure. There are a number of effects you can achieve by adjusting this number. Sometimes you may want to start here with your exposure depending on the effects you want. The most used is what is called your depth of field. This is the blurred out effect you get in the foreground and background of your image. The larger the opening the more blurred out effects you are going to get. So depending on what you are photographing you will want to adjust this accordingly. For example, if you are doing a portrait, you want to blur out the background so as to bring out your subject, you may want to use the f5.6. Now if you are doing a landscape photo, you want to get most or all of your photo in focus, so you would use a larger number, or as you would say, smaller aperture like f10 or f11. There are other effects that can be done with aperture than just depth of field. You can create octagon shape lights in the background with regular round lights. Have you ever seen christmas lights in the background that have this shape? That’s aperture. How about waterfalls. Have you ever seen waterfalls that have a soft smooth look to them? Aperture does this effect. The example photo I have selected here is of fire. I played around with aperture one night while sitting by our bonfire.

So depending on what you are shooting, what your creative spark is, start there, then adjust the other 2!

One thing that you should really do after you get your camera, is read the manual. Now that you know a bit about exposure, reading the manual will be a lot more understandable! Also, getting to know your camera with all these settings is good practice. Lenses too. But that’s a whole other subject!

As always, you can contact me with any questions!!


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