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What is Exposure in Photography? Guide for Beginners

What is Exposure in Photography? tips

The art of Capturing and recording light is called photography. The term photography encloses many things in itself. Exposure is one of them. If you want to record light in your camera, you have to know the technique that tells camera how much light it should record. Knowing exposure properly allows you to deliver right commands to your camera. It’s because camera is just a device, the whole artist is in you (image via shutterstock).

What Is Exposure?

What is Exposure in Photography?

Exposure means telling the camera how much light to record. If you allow your camera to record too much light, then your photos will be wiped out and if exposure is very little, then your pictures will look dark. Exposure is a very important and critical element that decides what to record on the camera lens. Now days there are many software by which you can easily correct and edit a poorly exposed image. But it has some disadvantages as defined below:

  • You can never get a good contrast in a poorly exposed photo.
  • It can waste a lot of your time by correcting the mess up. So, it’s better you do that before capturing a photo.
  • Good saturation can never be achieved in a poorly exposed picture.
  • If you capture an over exposed photo, you will get a result with blown highlights that you can never recover through editing software.

There are three main elements on which the whole exposure depends. These three things include the ISO ratings, shutter speed and aperture. A small introduction of these three elements is given below (image via shutterstock).

1. ISO Ratings:

What is Exposure in Photography? iso rating

The ISO ratings determine sensitivity of image sensors to light. A value of ISO rating shows a stop of light, while the ISO number represents halving or doubling the sensor sensitivity to light (image via shutterstock).

2. Shutter Speed:

What is Exposure in Photography? shutter speed

Shutter speed in photography shows the speed of a camera lens in which its lens opens and closes off. Like ISO, a shutter speed also represents the stoppage of light (image via shutterstock).

3. Aperture:

What is Exposure in Photography? Aperture
Lens diaphragm is controlled by the aperture. Diaphragm controls the quantity of light coming through camera lens to film plane.

These three things are very important to control and understand exposure. When these three things combine, they give an exposure value. A minor change in any one of these will have an impact on the other two. It is also called the exposure triangle. Let’s see how these things will help to expose an image (image via shutterstock).

4. Understanding Aperture:

What is Exposure in Photography? wide angle

It is a circular opening in the lens of our camera. It can be adjusted from a very small opening to a large circle, as large as a camera lens. Photographers adjust the aperture to allow the amount of light needed to take the picture hit the film. Aperture is a like a window blind. The more you open it, the more light will come into the room or wall. Aperture works the same, if we open up the aperture, then more light will come onto the digital film of our camera. But aperture numbers have opposite openings. Like a large numbered aperture has a small opening. This is because aperture numbers are written as fractions. For instance f4 means1/4 and f8 means 1/8. So 1/8 is smaller than ¼.

Shutter Speed:

What is Exposure in Photography? shutter speeds

This thing controls the timing required for the light to come through aperture to the film. If you set a long time, then more light will hit the surface of film. Actually, most photographers use shutter speed to show the motion in their picture. These speeds are also shown in the form of fractions but many digital cameras come up with showing the shutter speed in a simple way rather than fractions.

ISO Rating:

What is Exposure in Photography? clean image

Actually, ISO is an acronym. Abbreviation of ISO is International Standards Organization. In photography, ISO ratings help to show the light sensitivity. These ratings are from 25 to 2800 and more than that. If you set a lower ISO rating, then your picture will be less sensitive and it will look smoother because of little digital noise. Similarly, if you set a high ISO rating, then your pictures will give a noisy look.

These things will help you to understand and set the exposure completely in order to capture great images.