Understanding The Exposure Triangle | Tips for Photographers

Understanding The Exposure Triangle | Tips for Photographers

Over the last two weeks, we’ve talked about Camera Modes (choosing priorities like aperture or shutter speed, and manual control over both) as well as ISO, which are in essence, the fundamentals for getting an image that looks correct in camera.

Lets recap: Practice makes perfect.

1. Aperture = the size of the shutters opening in the lens.

2. Shutter speed = the duration of time that the shutter stays open for.

3. ISO = controls how sensitive the cameras sensor is to the light.

The point where these three elements meet is where the exposure is calculated and makes up what is known as the Exposure Triangle.

ClickTip: When one element is changed, this will affect the others, so you always need to think of them as one team.

All this technical talk is enough to make our brains melt a bit, so as the visual people that we all are, here is a neat way a teacher once taught me to imagine how the exposure triangle works:

Picture a room with one single window. This window has a solid blind on one side and a set of sheer, slightly transparent curtains on the other side.

Aperture is the overall size of the window (The larger the window, the more light can enter and the brighter the room will be. The smaller the window, the less light can enter and the room will be darker). The Shutter Speed is how long the blind is kept open for. The ISO is the sheer curtains; a thicker curtain will block some of the light from entering (acting like a low ISO), whereas a thinner curtain will allow the most light through (like a high ISO).

Think about that for a minute. And practice again. No matter how many analogies we use to describe the technical stuff, it will really only start to click with you the more you use your camera.

ClickTip: Play around with the settings and take LOTS of photos. Don’t worry about the ones that suck! Mistakes will make you a better photographer. If you don’t see your mistakes, you can’t know what to improve on.