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Understanding Photography

Christianne Lynnette G. Cabanban

Topic Outline
• The Triangle of Exposure
• Understanding Focal Point and How it Affects Your
• Guide to Aperture and Sunny 16 Rule
• Depth of Field
• Shutter Speed
• Photography Projects to Jumpstart Your Creativity

Triangle of Exposure
There are three main ingredients to good exposure: Aperture, Shutter Speed,
and ISO.
Think of a perfect exposure as a perfect triangle – all the angles are
equal, all the sides are equal. Now if you change just one part of that
exposure or triangle, it is no longer perfect so you will need to change
another point of the exposure or triangle an equal but opposite amount to
make that triangle and therefore the exposure perfect again

.All the elements of exposure have an effect on the others – so with that in mind we need to know the how’s and why’s of all the different elements to best understand how to get both a good exposure and the desired results in our photographs.

Aperture Aperture is a circular opening (somewhat) in our lens that is adjustable from a very small circle to almost as large as the lens itself. We adjust it to let more or less light hit the digital sensor or film. .

The opening of our lens or Aperture is expressed in f stops and here is a very typical range of f stops: .


You can have a small Depth of Field (DOF) where only your subject is in focus.Depth of Field When we look at an image. . there is a part that is in perfect focus and then there are parts that begin to be out of the range of focus. or you can have a deep Depth of Field where practically everything is in focus – or really anywhere in between.

200mm etc). with Aperture having a profound effect on DOF . and lens focal length (50mm.Depth of field is determined by three things. distance to your subject. aperture (f stop).

Landscape photographers usually use small apertures to have a very deep DOF. all the way from the foreground to the background. . there are exceptions to these rules and that is ruled by the photographer’s artistic ideas and vision.Photographers that shoot portraits usually use larger apertures (low numbers) for a shallow DOF to highlight and isolate their subjects. As usual.


the more light will hit their surface. The longer the time. . shutter speed is the portion of exposure that will control that aspect. Whether we want to freeze motion or show motion. shutter speed controls motion. That is technically what shutter speed does.Shutter Speed Shutter speed controls how long the light comes through our aperture to our digital sensor or film. Artistically.

Shutter speeds are expressed in fraction of a second 1/8. 1/125. . 1/1000 etc.


Sometimes we may want to freeze our subject and keep it sharp and clear.Beyond that we can now make an artistic judgment – do we want to stop action. . Other times we want some blur on the subject to give the viewer the impression that the object is moving or is at speed. or show movement? And this is a judgment you need to make.


ISO (International Standards Organization We use ISO to help us achieve what we want to do with the other two sides of exposure. This can sometimes make the image look so bad that it becomes unusable . Why don’t we just use the most sensitive one and forget about it? Well because the downside of higher ISO is that it increases the noise or grain in our images. Aperture and Shutter Speed. You may ask.

So our objective is to use the lowest ISO possible. Shooting outdoors on sunny or even slightly overcast days we can use ISO 100 or 200 with ease. . but balancing that to what we want to achieve. Especially if we use a small aperture (letting in less light) for shooting a deep depth of field landscape shot. On heavy overcast days we may need to change our ISO to 400. while still being able to maintain a shutter speed that we can safely handholdwithout a tripod.

we may need to move up to ISO 3200 or higher (remembering again that not all cameras can shoot at these higher ISO without excessive noise). .As we move indoors to a brightly lit room we may need to move up to ISO 800 – 1600 to take natural light photos without the need for using our flash. As we move to dimly lit rooms or street scenes.

.Focal Length Selecting different focal lengths can really reshape the aesthetics of your scene. Zooming in and out on the same subject area greatly changes the way that a subject relates to the background and the perceived distance between the two.

If you’re wanting to show how a subject relates to the background. using lenses of different focal lengths can change the way the background appears in relation to the subject.However. there is never one best lens or focal length choice. .

or choose a longer focal length to compress your subject against the background. You can use a wide lens to lead into a background or create distance. A focal length of any choice can be a good one dependingon the way you envisionthe scene. Focal length choice is a huge part of the composition process of an image.Experimenting with these various focal lengths is a powerful part of the creative process. .

18 mm from 18-55 70 MM from 55-200 35 mm .

Sunny 16 Rule .

As follows. .Rule of Thirds • The basic principle behind the rule of thirds is to imagine breaking an image down into thirds (both horizontally and vertically) so that you have 9 parts.

.The theory is that if you place points of interest in the intersections or along the lines that your photo becomes more balanced and will enable a viewer of the image to interact with it more naturally.

altering each one changes the look of the final photograph. "Focus" itself refers to the amount of the image that is sharp. Both the point of focus and the amount of focus affect the resulting image. .Point of Focus When a photographer uses the term "point of focus". In short. he is referring to that object in a photograph at which he wants to draw the most attention.


on the left of the frame in focus whilst the remaining bottles fade and blur into the background. Off-Centre Auto Focus Point • If your camera has this function. then you are able to select just one of any of the focus points as reference. you are doing a commercial or stock shoot of some bottles or glasses of wine all in a row. You want them fading into the distance using shallow depth of field and want just the first glass. . Single. • For example.Specific.

• These would be particularly useful for fast moving objects where it is virtually impossible to keep them over any single point. By selecting all points. being mainly sports or nature photography with subjects that move independently and erratically.All Focus Points • As we touched on briefly before. there are only a few situations where I personally would use all points. . the smart chip in the camera decides which point the moving subject is closest to and switches back and forth instantly to keep the subject well in focus.

You’ll time them better and make sure each shot counts! . In doing so you’ll find yourself really thinking about your shots. 2) The 1 Roll Rule .limit yourself to 36 shots (the number in a roll of film).Ideas to Kick Start Photography 1) Fixed Focal Length Shoots .shooting with a prime lens (fixed focal length) that makes you think about the composition of your shots a little more.

3) Compositional Rules 4) Explore other techniques 5) Lighting Technique . 6) Manual Exposure Mode Weekend .similarly set yourself the challenge to practice your skills with a particular lighting.

ask if you can take their should get out of the house once a week with your camera.The idea is to approach someone you’ve never met before. 3) 100 Strangers . 2) 52 Photowalks .Photography Projects 1) 365 Days Project -take a picture of anything every day for a year. and talk to them a bit to get some kind of backstory .

For instance. .You can pick a place and try to get a picture of objects that start with or represent each letter of the alphabet. and figure out what photos would look better in mono. and which ones wouldn’t. 6) Go Mono – Your goal is to get better at converting photos to black and white. pick a color and try to go all day photographing only red things.4) A-Z . 5) Pick-A-Something . to see things differently. or try only getting pictures of things that are square when you’re on a walk.

com • photo.RESOURCES • .tutsplus.