Mastering The Basics Of Exposure To Improve Your Photography

July 24, 2011 by  
Filed under Photography Tips

If you’re going after photography as a leisure activity, you’re likely making use of your camera’s auto mode whenever you capture shots. The digital camera does much of the job for you. It will focus your image, employ the flash (if necessary), and apply the appropriate level of exposure given the conditions in which you are taking pictures
That said, you’ll have a lot more management over the top quality of your images in manual setting; the biggest challenge, nonetheless, is choosing the right exposure.
Exposure in photography is confusing to a lot of beginners. One of the reasons is since it involves fine-tuning a number of configurations: shutter speed, aperture, and ISO. All of these functions play critical parts in keeping your photographs from appearing washed out or excessively dim; also well worth observing, modifying one impacts the others.
In this article, we will provide an easy-to-understand tutorial on the fundamentals of exposure. The subsequent discussion may prove most useful for those who have DSLR cameras (compact digitals tend to offer much less flexibility).

Shutter Speed – Permitting Light To Shine In
This configuration reflects the length of time your shutter is opened. The slower the speed, the more time your DSLR’s image sensor is subjected to light. Depending on the sum of light accessible for your photo, an excessively slow shutter speed can overexpose your picture. Alternatively, if you don’t allow the shutter to stay open long enough, your pictures will appear overly dark. This can be an even larger problem if you choose to go into poster printing and blow the image up.
The speeds accessible will vary by camera. A typical DSLR might offer settings which are outlined as 1/30s (the shutter is open for 1/30th of a second), 1/60s, 1/250s, and so on. The fastest speed is presently 1/16000s, which few professional photographers will need for their photos.
Aperture – The Hole In The Lens
Of the three components that impact exposure, aperture will cause the most indecision among beginning photographers. It indicates the size of the opening in the lens by which light is allowed to enter the digital camera.
When you push the button that releases your shutter, an adjustable hole opens in the lens. Your digital camera’s image sensor can catch your scene through this hole for a quick moment, the duration of which is dictated by your shutter speed setting. In that instance, light will filter through the shutter, into the lens, and through the aperture prior to hitting the image sensor.
You will alter the dimensions of this hole by modifying the aperture configuration on your camera. You’ll observe settings are detailed as “f-stops,” and appear as f/2, f/2.8, f/4, f/5.6, and so forth. It is important to understand the aperture and shutter speed are carefully tied to each other. The bigger the opening, the quicker you need to set the shutter speed, and the other way round.
ISO – When Light Reaches The Image Sensor
This configuration indicates how sensitive your image sensor is to lighting. To fully appreciate ISO, it is worth focusing on how it applied to film that was loaded into cameras an era back. In those days, film was an ISO 100 or 200; the number indicated the film’s lighting level of sensitivity
The problem was that photography enthusiasts frequently confronted low-light conditions in which a slow shutter speed and broad aperture threatened to cloud their photos. They essentially required film that was more responsive to lighting. This led to the introduction of film with greater ISO ratings.
Eventually, digital SLR cameras came out, and provided photography enthusiasts the versatility to select their own ISO settings dependent on the light available for their shots. While ISO 100 may suffice for some conditions, you can expand the configuration as light decreases. Many DSLRs may allow you to increase the image sensor’s sensitivity to ISO 6,400; some can extend even further.
Shutter speed, aperture, and ISO… these are the three elements of exposure. Adjusting any of them typically requires adjusting the others in order to make up for changes in the manner in which your camera interacts with lighting; if you study to perfect all three, you’ll enhance the visual appeal of your digital photography.


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