Conquering the Dreaded Exposure Triangle
* Clip art credit goes to Thephotographylife.com
You can find a more indepth article of exposure on their site.
You may be searching the internet with the intent of learning to work that DSLR you spent so much money on. I know you will see the words 'practice practice practice' everywhere.
This is because it's true. The more you practice; the better you get at guessing the correct exposure.
"But, I have to know what I'm supposed to practice!"
That's true too. So let's begin.
Aperture, Shutter Speed, ISO
They all combine to allow just the right amount of light in which sets the Exposure
Aperture: This is the focus distance. Not the focus distance from you but as regards to the area you are shooting. For instance, a smaller number, such as 1-2 will cover about 2 feet in front of your subject and a foot back. Everything else will be out of focus (that fancy bokah). If you are shooting a group or landscape where you want more space in focus so you will open it up to a larger number. If you want as much as possible in focus you will go up to 9 or so.
This affects light by the size of the lens hole. The smaller it is the higher the number. The larger it is the smaller the number. Therefor, a small number of 1-4 or so will let a lot of light in. A larger number will let a smaller amount of light in. With this thought you might not want to shoot a higher number (more in focus) at evening time. And likewise, I've had such bright days as not not allow me to go down to 1.5 without letting in too much light.
*TIP A small aperture does not usually come with a kit lens. Kit lens (the lens that comes with the camera) will usually begin around 3.5.
Shutter Speed: The shutter speed is the speed in which the camera shutter opens and shuts. Think in terms of your window. If you open and shut it fast not much gets in. If you open it slowly and shut it slowly more will get in.
When shooting movement you will want to keep the speed (number) up pretty high, around 400 or more. When outdoors you can crank it up pretty fast, when indoors keep it low. The slower it opens/shuts the more light gets in. There is a mathematical equation to this but I like to keep it simple. There's enough to remember already!
In combination with the Triangle you will be able to set this and leave it until the light changes drastically.
*TIP As a rule of thumb, do not put the shutter speed under 160. I know you may read not to go below the lens distance (for instance when using a 50mm you can go down to a shutter speed of 50) but I'm telling you, you will still get camera shake, which is the blurring of motion. I've found anything below 160 blurs
ISO: This is a term left over from the film days. In digital cameras it sets the sensitivity of the image sensor to light. I won't get all science on you, here's the short and sweet of it.
Basically what it means to you is:
Lower numbers = less noise/grain Higher number = more noise/grain.
Lower numbers = larger prints Higher number = smaller prints
When shooting a lower number you let in less light. A lower number allows more light and is used during bright light . A higher number will allow more light in and works best in darker light. It also does not pick up details so larger prints do not work well.
For practice points, in the bright sunshine on the beach I will keep it at 100. When outdoors in the shade or a cloudy day I go up to 400. Indoors it would be at least 600. Dusk, probably around 1200 and almost dark 3600. Some cameras go higher, some lower. There is no magic number, it largely depends on your camera. In my experience my Canon T3i would go up to 600 without grain. My Mark iii can go up to 800 before it starts showing grain. When using a higher number the camera cannot pick up the details which means it must fill in with 'grain' or 'noise'. This includes picking up color, as there is not much light to reflect the color.
TIP: Grain and noise are not the enemy. They can even print sharper. It is the lack of detail that you do not want.
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