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What is Exposure in Photography

What is Exposure in Photography?

Ever wondered why the images you took are dimly lit and unappealing? When you first start taking pictures, it’s alright to get confused by the countless buttons and options in your camera. But that can’t be an excuse behind dimly lit photos. Knowing how to control lights allows you to create different artistic results in seconds. Setting the correct exposure on your camera can significantly affect how your imagery turns out. Fortunately, exposure is not a tough nut to crack. With a few basic terms and techniques, you can expose your images perfectly in no time. Let’s dive right in!

What is Camera Exposure?

Exposure is the foundation of photography. It means the overall brightness or darkness in a photograph. The main effect of this branch is capturing images with a determined level of brightness. Photographers seize all the details, including highlights and shadows, when they click a perfectly-exposed photo.

In photography, underexposure is when the camera sensor doesn’t receive sufficient light. People also call it crushed shadows, and the result has no information in the darkest areas of the image. In contrast, when the camera receives too much light, it’s called overexposure. Photographers also call it blown-out highlights or burned-out highlights. In this genre, photographers have no information on the brightest areas of the image.

How does Exposure work in Photography?

Exposure is powered by the 3 main pillars of a camera:

1.    Aperture

2.    Shutter speed

3.    ISO

These components may sound quite essential, but a lot of other work is involved with this aspect. Manipulating exposure is a skill set that you need to conquer. In imagery, it’s not enough to know what knobs and buttons you need to adjust. Understanding why and how you’re making these little adjustments is also essential. So how do you fix your camera’s exposure? Let’s explore the exposure triangle!

1.    Aperture:

You’ve probably seen this term in photography blogs. But what exactly is this aperture? Aperture refers to the lens’s opening that lets light into the camera. When not in use, this component remains closed. If you use a wider aperture, the lens allows more light to reach the camera, making the images brighter. Conversely, closing down your aperture blocks the amount of light passing through the lens and creates darker images. Unless you don’t want to fall in the loop between overexposed and underexposed images, master the aperture basics today.

2.    Shutter Speed:

Like the aperture, shutter speed also controls the amount of light entering the camera. So what makes shutter speed different? Your camera requires certain levels of light to snap photos. When there’s plenty of daylight, your shutter must stay open only for a short time. But when it’s dark outside, it needs to remain open for a more extended period to gather more light. With shutter speed, you can clock the amount of light to achieve the perfect lighting. For most modern cameras, the fastest shutter speed is about 1/8000th of a second, and the slowest is 30 seconds. The slower the value, the more light gets in.

3.    ISO:

ISO refers to the amplification of light captured by the camera. Or you can call it your camera’s sensitivity range to light. Most ISOs in cameras range between 100-12,000. But with pro cameras, it can reach up to 30,000 or more. You’ll need higher ISO in a dark environment to capture the perfect exposure. For instance, images turn better at night with ISO 800. However, using high ISO often leads to image noise. So, expect your photos to turn grainy as you rise higher than ISO 100.

When it’s dark outside, don’t crank up your ISO too high. Instead, start exploring the surroundings and do some test shots. Once you’ve hit the right notes, go on with the photographs. Otherwise, stick to lower values to maintain the quality of your photos. After that, autoRetouch automatically fixes the exposure during the post-production stage.

How to Set Exposure on Cameras?

You can fix your camera’s exposure with just a turn of the dial these days. Generally, there are 3 exposure settings in the camera:

1.    Manual Exposure:

Here photographers set a specific aperture, shutter speed, and ISO. This is particularly useful if you want complete control over your camera settings and have the time to adjust the modes for each shot.

2.    Shutter Priority:

In this setting, photographers only set the shutter speed, and the camera automatically selects the aperture. Use this mode if you are into in-depth photography.

3.    Aperture Priority:

Here photographers set the aperture, and the camera automatically selects the shutter speed. This mode is preferred if you want to control the field of depth.

Both aperture and shutter priority have their uses, and you will often find yourself switching back and forth. While using these settings, do not forget to set your ISO to auto. This slight change ensures your camera gets more flexibility and helps you capture stunning shots.

How to Master Exposure in Photography?

Technically, exposure is like mathematics. The settings you apply have predictable changes. If you dial up your shutter speed by one notch, it only makes sense that the aperture should also move one notch.

Just remember if you are increasing one exposure component, you have to decrease the other or vice versa. Let’s elaborate.

Let’s say your aperture is set to f/2.8, and your shutter speed is 1/100th second. If you amplify your aperture to f/2, you’ll need to pull up your shutter speed to 1/125th. But here’s a catch.

Why increase the shutter speed to 1/125th instead of bringing it down to 1/60th? The main reason is when you’re widening the aperture; you are letting in more light. To save the pieces from overexposure, you’ll need to increase the shutter speed to compensate for the extra light coming in. That way, you’ll have images with perfect exposure.

In Conclusion:

Exposure might seem complicated, but it’s one of the primary things to learn if you want high-quality images. So go around and fiddle with your camera. Do the test shots, test the lighting, and observe how the slight changes affect the photo. Most of all, keep practicing. Exposure is not something you can master in a day. And if you still have some masterpieces with lousy lighting, try the Fix Portrait Exposure component presented by the AI-powered autoRetouch.