Wednesday 29 March 2017

Geek Latte | Photography Exposure Triangle

1/250 ISO 640 f3.3
I am so excited to finally start publishing posts related to photography on Pink Tea Latte. For those of you who enjoy my other content, do not fret as photography is not going to take over my blog. As my images have increased in quality, I have been getting more and more photography related questions. I personally learned on the go and figured it out with a little bit of help from both google and a beginners DSLR course at Langara College. As I do not consider myself a professional, but more of a hobbyist, I will be interviewing local professional photographers who will be giving some more insight on the profession as well as some tips!

The current lineup includes:
•Aileen Choi @aileenchoiphoto
• Sara Brynn @sarahbrynncreative
• Kurtis Stewart @kurtisstewartphoto

Social media platforms like Instagram and Pinterest have fostered a love of photography within my generation, or commonly referred to as the "millennials." More and more individuals are picking up photography as a hobby; however,  I am not going to lie, seeing someone using a fabulous piece of equipment on "Auto" really brings out the jealousy in me. It is like seeing someone driving a Lamborghini, but clearly they have no clue how to drive stick, so they are grinding those gears with every shift... GAH!

The auto mode on your camera can be great if you do not know how to appropriately set the camera; however, it also means your camera decides all the settings for you. Unfortunately, our cameras are not very smart and are making their best guess as to what the ideal settings should be. Therefore, it is time to embrace your camera and really start using its full capacity especially if you own an amazing piece of equipment.

My prized possession is the Nikon D5500 DSLR which I primarily keep on "manual" as it allows me the most control over my camera's settings.  In this post, I am going to touch on the fundamentals of exposure or the exposure triad.

1/250 ISO 4000 f2.8

NOTE: The exposure rules remain the same across all camera brands/models, so do not fret if you do not have the exact same camera as me or use a Canon or Sony etc.

The exposure triad consists of:
1. Shutter Speed
2. Aperture/f-stop
3. ISO

Shutter Speed

Of all three, Shutter Speed is probably the simplest concept to understand. The faster your shutter speed, the shorter the time for light to enter your camera meaning darker images. A slower shutter speed allows a grater amount of time for light to enter your camera giving you a brighter image. However, a slow shutter speed will also make your camera more sensitive to hand shake making your pictures blurred.

Fast Shutter Speed = Less Light
Slow Shutter Speed = More Light, but also more susceptible to hand shake


If you look through your lens, you will see overlapping blades creating an opening. A larger f-stop (small aperture) means a smaller opening while a small f-stop (large aperture) results in a larger opening. Aperture is also related to depth of field. I will probably talk about depth of field in a different blogpost, but simply put, it is how much distance will be in focus. A large aperture (smaller f-stop number) gives you a shallow depth of field. 

I personally keep my f-stop at 2.8 and do not really change it often. Since I use a prime lens (50mm Nikkor lens), my f-stop does not need to change. With a zoom lens, the focal length can be changed, but each focal length has a different lowest aperture. 

Small f-stop = large aperture = large opening = shallow depth of field
Large f-stop = small aperture = small opening = greater depth of field

1/180 ISO160 f2.8


Before digital cameras became mainstream, ISO indicated how sensitive the roll of film would be to light. In digital cameras, ISO refers to the sensitivity of the image sensor. A lower ISO means your camera will be less sensitive to light and the image will have a finer grain. In darker settings, ISO is raised to increase the sensitivity to light; however, this also introduces "noise" making the picture look grainy. In dark settings, you have to increase the ISO otherwise, the picture will be too dark.

When it is a gorgeous sunny day, I keep my ISO at 100 (the lowest ISO) since there is a lot of light already. Only when there is not enough light such as being in the shade or it is an overcast day that I increase my ISO.

Higher ISO = increased sensitivity = brighter images, but also with more noise
Lower ISO = less sensitivity to light, but not necessarily darker images.

1/500 ISO 160 f2.8
Having a good understanding of Shutter Speed, Aperture and ISO will help you take pictures that are well exposed, but also give you more flexibility in choosing how you want your pictures to look. I personally like to over-expose my pictures because I like taking back-lit pictures.

Going back to the analogy of stick shift cars, whenever I have asked my friends how they know when to shift gears, they respond with, "you just know by the sound and feel of the motor." Haha basically an annoying response, but photography is also similar as the more you shoot, you begin to get a feel for what settings are needed when shooting in different situations. Do not feel discouraged, I have taken some really awful pictures and I still do! But you its the bad pictures that help you figure out how to take a good picture.

Keep an eye out for my first interview with Aileen Choi which will be going live on Friday, March 31, 2017. Aileen is going to talk about her style as well as still being very new to the industry. 


No comments:

Post a Comment