Many things go into making a great photograph, but one of the most important is exposure. Exposure is one of the most important aspects of photography, and it can have a huge impact on the final image. Hence this guide on Exposure in Photography.
This article will discuss what exposure is, how to control it, as well as general tips for getting better exposures with any type of camera you have!
1. What is exposure in photography and how does it work?
Exposure refers to the amount of light per unit area on a surface. Technically, it is defined as luminance (the measure in candelas per square meter) divided by solid angle (which can be measured in steradians).
Exposure has nothing to do with colour or intensity but rather how much light reaches each point on an object’s surface.
2. Factors that affect your exposure
A camera sensor is the light-sensitive part of a digital camera. The more megapixels your sensor has, the more information it can take in and process. This makes for better photographs with less grain or digital noise when you enlarge them.
Some sensors also use CMOS technology which allows up to 30% faster read speeds than traditional CCD chips. With these fast processors, new features like real-time video recording are possible without interruption or lagging what’s happening on screen because of slow processing times.
The level of brightness that records into your image depends entirely on how much light enters the lens at any given time while taking an exposure photograph. When there is not enough artificial lighting available to illuminate the subject, you need to expose the ambient light.
Your aperture is one of two things that determine how much light enters your lens and exposes your sensor. The size of the hole in front of your camera’s diaphragm determines this – a larger opening allows more light into the lens than a smaller opening does.
This impacts exposure because it controls just how bright an image will be as well as its depth of field (DOF). A low “f”-stop like f/16 means less area on focus while higher settings such as f/11 have greater DOF but are potentially brighter at any given time.
In Aperture Priority mode, you select the aperture that you want (which controls how much light enters), then let the camera automatically adjust shutter speed based on available light or if Auto ISO is turned on, by using what it thinks should be appropriate for exposure at any given time.
This makes shooting with manual settings easier when there are variable levels of brightness around your subjects but can also result in some images coming out blurry if not set appropriately – so reading up about all these factors before going into this mode helps make better exposure decisions.
Your physical shooting distance also plays into both aspects so choosing these wisely can help control which aspect of the photo is better exposed.
Your shutter speed controls how long your sensor will be exposed to light, which impacts exposure in photography because it also determines just how bright an image will be as well as its DOF
A slower shutter speed means more time for ambient light to wash out detail in darker settings but also allows you to capture movement over a longer period of time than with faster exposures.
In Shutter Priority mode, you select the shutter speed that you want (which controls how long your sensor will be exposed to light), then let the camera automatically adjust aperture based on available light or if Auto ISO is turned on, by using what it thinks should be appropriate for exposure at any given time.
Your physical shooting distance and aperture can have different effects on this setting so deciding these wisely helps control what aspect of the photo is best captured at any given time.
The white balance feature adjusts colour temperatures based on lighting conditions available when photographing subjects that aren’t pure white or grey (not typical camera backgrounds).
This helps eliminate unwanted colours from appearing on your subject while it’s being photographed and is a very important setting for professional photographers to be aware of
Because different lighting conditions can change the colour tones in an image significantly. This will affect the exposure of your photos and many also influence Digital noise
In Program mode, you tell your camera what kinds of photos you’re taking: portrait shots where flash isn’t needed; close-ups of flowers where you only want the background to be in focus; a landscape photo that needs everything in the frame.
The camera will then automatically adjust the aperture and shutter speed based on your input, choosing what it thinks should provide good exposure for each type of shot.
3. Understanding aperture, shutter speed, and ISO in relation to exposure (Exposure triangle)
Changing the aperture, shutter speed, and ISO settings can all affect your exposure. All these three are comose the exposure triangle
For example, when you take a photo in bright light with an f-stop of F/16 at a slow shutter speed like one second (ISO 100), there are not enough photons to expose the sensor for long exposures so it will be underexposed because only part of the image is exposed during that time period.
If you captured this same scene but instead used an f-stop of F/11 or higher along with a faster shutter speed like one-thousandth of a second (ISO 25600) then more light would enter through the lens and could illuminate the sensor for longer periods which means images taken in these conditions will have better dynamic range and less digital noise.
You can also use manual settings to control your aperture, shutter speed and ISO level if you prefer not to rely on the camera’s automatic exposure setting which will change based on its own sensor readings of available light in a given scene or when using Auto ISO.
Some cameras have preset for these different shooting modes such as Aperture Priority, Shutter-Priority and Manual mode that make it easier by choosing one set at a time.
But other models allow all three features to be changed simultaneously with more advanced controls over their specific effects while adjusting them together as an expert photographer might do.
When changing any single feature from among these four settings – exposing too high or low is easy enough to correct so just keep playing around until you find what will work for you. Learn more about exposure triangle from digital photography school
4. How to calculate the right exposure for a photo
Exposure is the amount of light recorded in any given picture.
There are two ways to calculate exposure: aperture and shutter speed. The other factor that affects how much light enters your camera when you take a photo is ISO (which stands for International Standards Organization).
ISO levels are set on digital cameras and cannot be changed by adjusting aperture or shutter speed settings – but keep reading because understanding these three factors helps you calculate exposure: Aperture, Shutter Speed, ISO.
Exposure = f-stop x shutter speed (seconds) x ISO level
Examples: An image was taken with an aperture value of F/11 at a slow shutter speed like one second (ISO 100), which would give us an underexposed photo as only part of the picture was captured during this time period.
If we had instead used an aperture of F/11 or higher and a faster shutter speed like one-thousandth of a second (ISO 25600) then more light would enter through the lens and could illuminate the sensor for longer periods which means images taken in these conditions will have better dynamic range and less digital noise.
An image underexposed by any amount can be corrected with an increase in either ISO, aperture value (higher f-stop), or slower shutter speeds to let more light into it to compensate for too much darkness.
This relationship between exposure values reveals how changing settings such as aperture, shutter speed, or ISO impacts what your camera records when you take a photo.
5. How to expose correctly in various lighting conditions
It is important to know how your camera, lens and settings will react in various lighting conditions. This can be a little complicated at first, but with some practice, it will become second nature for you.
Different situations require different exposure adjustments. The goal here is not to get an image that looks light or dark on the back of the camera as soon as possible (although this may be what you want), but rather one where there are no over-exposed highlights or under-lit shadows; this usually results in images appearing natural and true to life.
For example: If your subject is standing against the sun without any shade nearby then they’ll most likely have very bright skin tones while everything else around them appears darker. To preserve their skin tones you’d need to either find a way to remove the sun from the scene or choose a different camera angle.
When photographing people, there is no perfect exposure that will work in every situation and for every subject – but an understanding of how your camera reads light levels can help you make better decisions about what to photograph in any given scenario.
The following are some general rules:
- If shooting indoors with windows nearby; overexpose by one stop (expose normally if not using auto mode). This avoids having too much detail lost in any shadows on the face caused by being backlit through window glass, while still seeing enough definition on highlights like hair.
- For landscapes where the sun is in the frame, expose normally for highlights or underexpose by one stop if shooting into the light.
- For portraits outdoors on a sunny day; overexposed by two stops to avoid having blown out skin tones and shadows that are too dark while still being able to see detail in both highlights (skin) and shadows.
- Overexposing images of people can sometimes lead to unflattering results due to highlighting blemishes or wrinkles more prominently than they should be seen. Remember that you have much greater control over your final image through post production editing than you do with an exposure adjustment before taking the photo.
Our Conclusion On Exposure In Photography
Exposure In Photography is a complex topic. The more you know about it, the better your photographs will be. We hope this article has helped explain what exposure means and how to use it creatively in photography to capture the best possible photo of any subject!
If you are looking for more information on digital photography tips or tricks, make sure to subscribe to our newsletter so that we can always update you with photography content.