I’m so glad you’re here for this brand new photography “class” —> blog post style!
The plan is to post a new lesson each week from now all the way through March, and we will cover the main features on your camera that will propel your photography adventure which will come in handy for learning the basics of composition. We’ll round out the course with activities for you to try every day and our last module will be on editing.
I’ll be referencing dSLR cameras, but if your camera allows you to change aperture, shutter speed, and ISO, then feel free to follow along! Smartphones don’t have as many options, but hang with us anyway so that when we get to the posts on composition, you’ll be able to jump in!
Ready? Let’s get started!
THE EXPOSURE TRIANGLE
The “rules” we will be talking about in these posts are the tools (next to your camera, lens, and memory card) photographers use to make their photographs. Just like any other art form, your camera is the paintbrush or pencil, the lens is the type of brush/pencil, light is the paint, and aperture, shutter speed, ISO, are the techniques we use to show other people how the light captured our attention in a specific moment.
Once these camera settings are habits to you, feel free to use them however you like! Rules are more like guidelines in this craft, but you’ll be able to like what you shoot much faster with settings under your belt than just clicking the shutter button by itself.
Aperture, shutter speed, ISO, and composition are similar to learning perspective and shading, color mixing, drawing to scale, learning how to read notes on the musical staff, cooking, planting a garden, or even building. If you’ve tried any of these or tried to make art, food, music, etc. without them, you may realize how important first steps are!
Alrighty! Let’s look at a quick overview of the Exposure Triangle and we’ll delve into more detail in the coming weeks.
The opening of the shutter curtain is measured in “f-stops”. You can see the curtain at work if you take off your lens, turn on your camera, and press the shutter button. (Be sure to put the lens back on to keep dust out of the sensor area).
The smaller the number the bigger the opening and the larger the number the smaller the opening, but you can just remember:
Small number (f1.2 - f2.8) = fewer objects in focus
Large number (f3.5 - f22) = more objects in focus
Small numbers or “shooting wide open” are great for drawing attention to 1 or 2 objects in the photo while everything else blurs. I use it for pictures like this:
Changing this setting determines how fast or slow the shutter curtain opens and closes. Small numbers add blur and show motion because the shutter is open longer and lets more light in for the internal sensor to read. Large numbers freeze motion because the shutter is open for a short length of time and less light reaches the sensor. Shutter speed is measured in seconds or fractions of seconds. All you need to remember for now is:
Small numbers (1 second - 60 seconds) = blurred motion
Large numbers (1/4 of a second -1/4000 of a second) = frozen motion
Water is my favorite thing to practice shutter speed on!
ISO stands for International Standards Organization.
What does that have to do with photography? Not much, except that the organization set the standard for film “speed” (100, 800, etc) and the numbers measure how sensitive the film is to light.
We still use these numbers to tell a digital sensor how sensitive to be to light.
You can just remember:
Lower numbers = use outdoors (ISO 100-400)
Higher numbers = use indoors (ISO 800-3200)
And there you have it! The basics of our Exposure Triangle! We’ll be using these settings throughout the course, so I highly recommend getting acquainted with your camera manual and the settings we talked about today.
Now, let’s practice!
HERE’S YOUR FUN SHEET!
-—> DOWNLOAD HERE <——