When you talk about mastering exposure, you talk about the basics of photography. Earlier on, it’s something you should nail down in your photography experience. The common mistake newbie photographer makes is to shoot on auto mode. However, while this is great for a while, you’re not really getting most of your camera and you’re not really developing a wide array of photography skills when you’re auto mode.
Exposure basically tells you how much light you let into your camera. Too much light can wash out your photos. Too little light will result in images that are too dark.
So, DSLR users, here are 11 ways to master exposure:
Tip 1: Understand Exposure Triangle
Exposure is how bright or dark the photograph is. Exposure is affected by the combination of these three camera settings: Shutter speed, Aperture and ISO. The right combination of the three will result in a poorly exposed photo. For example, if the photo is pitch black, it is under exposed. And if the photo is washed out by light, it is over exposed.
Tip 2: Understand shutter speed
It is the duration of the camera’s sensor being exposed to light. So the longer the camera sensor curtain is opened, the more light will come in, resulting in a lighter or brighter photograph and vice versa. Also, faster shutter speeds, freezes action or motion but slower shutter speeds, shows motion and movement in the image. Shutter speed ranges from 30sec up to 1/8000th depending on the camera.
Tip 3: Understand aperture
It is the opening of the internal blades of the lens to control how much light it will allow to pass through the lens before it hits the camera sensor. The value of aperture is denoted by f/stops. The higher the f/stop number, the smaller the opening of the lens resulting in a darker photo and vice versa.
Also, the higher f/stop number, the focus plane is thicker and more of the image will be in focus. F/stop values ranges from f22 up to f0.95 depending on the lens.
Tip 4: Understand ISO
It is the sensitivity of the camera sensor to light that passed through the lens and the shutter curtain. Higher ISO settings on camera produce noisy photos. To prevent this, some people use the lowest ISO setting possible for the situation. ISO speed ranges from 50-25600 depending on the camera.
Tip 5: Learn how to read Histogram
The histogram is a bar graph that shows how many pixels of the photograph is totally black going through all the way to totally white. There is no perfect histogram because it only just shows what the luminance value or how bright each pixel is in the photograph that you have taken. If the chart shows most or all of the values on the left hand side, your photograph has captured a large quantity of black or dark pixels resulting in a dark photograph. Or if the graph shows the values majority on the right, the photo will most probably be over exposed. But it’s not the case if you are aiming for high-key and low-key images.
Tip 6: Understand in-camera metering system
Cameras today can meter subjects for you. The camera measures light bouncing off the subject going to the camera sensor and calculating what it thinks the right exposure for the subject is depending on the chosen metering mode. The problem with this is sometimes the camera gets confused with too much light or very dark scenarios.
Tip 7: Understand the metering modes
There are different kinds of metering modes in your camera.
Center-Weighted average metering
Tip 8: Use a light meter
A light meter more accurately gives value to aperture or shutter speed. For example, you have to key in your ISO and aperture value, when you take a reading, the light meter will give the right value for shutter speed. But remember, if you are using strobes or continuous lights, you have to always enter you ISO and shutter speed and the light meter will give you the correct aperture value.
Tip 9: Use Spot metering
Spot metering allows you to meter over a more specific area of the subject. Compared to Partial Metering and Center-Weighted Metering, Spot metering meters only for 2.3% specific portion of the picture. For example, you want to expose just a specific part of the face, like the eyes.
Tip 10: Use Manual mode!
Stay away from auto mode if you want to master exposure. Because going manual gives you muscle memory over the controls and functions that can tweak your exposure especially on quick situations. Or you can use Aperture priority or Shutter priority before going into full manual.
Tip 11: Practice!
Make it a habit to shoot manual if the situation permits. Your eyes, mind and hands will be accustomed to exposing different subjects and quickly changing the settings needed on the fly.
Photos & Article By Briann Dy | YD Photography