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Photography 101 - Section 1: The Exposure Triangle Explained

Aperture: The Window to Light

Aperture refers to the opening within the lens that controls the amount of light passing through to the camera sensor. It's measured in f-stops. A lower f-stop (e.g., f/1.8) means a wider aperture, allowing more light, while a higher f-stop (e.g., f/16) means a narrower aperture, allowing less light.

The fascinating aspect of aperture lies in its impact on depth of field—the range of sharpness in an image. A wider aperture (lower f-stop) creates a shallow depth of field, isolating the subject from the background with a beautiful blur (bokeh). In contrast, a narrower aperture (higher f-stop) results in a deeper depth of field, keeping more of the scene in focus.

Understanding aperture settings empowers photographers to control the aesthetic appeal of their images by manipulating the background blur and focusing attention on the subject.

Aperture, photography 101

Shutter Speed: Freezing or Blurring Motion

Shutter speed dictates the duration for which the camera's shutter remains open, determining how motion is captured in a photograph. It's measured in seconds or fractions of a second. A faster shutter speed (e.g., 1/1000s) freezes motion, ideal for capturing fast-moving subjects like sports or wildlife.

high speed shutter speed, splashin water, runner
High speed shutter speed

Conversely, a slower shutter speed (e.g., 1/30s) allows for motion blur, adding a sense of movement to the image. This technique is often used in creative photography, such as capturing the flow of water in a waterfall or emphasizing the speed of a moving vehicle.

Long exposure of city, low shuuter speed, city lights,
Long exposure of city

Understanding shutter speed enables photographers to control the portrayal of motion in their images, whether freezing action or conveying a sense of dynamism.

Shutter speed scheme
Shutter speed scheme

ISO: Sensitivity to Light

ISO measures the sensitivity of the camera sensor to light. A lower ISO (e.g., ISO 100) is less sensitive and produces cleaner images with less noise. In contrast, a higher ISO (e.g., ISO 1600 or above) increases sensor sensitivity, allowing for shooting in low-light conditions but potentially introducing more image noise.

ISO performance, at night
ISO performance

Mastering ISO sensitivity allows photographers to adapt to various lighting situations. However, it's crucial to find a balance, as higher ISO settings can compromise image quality by introducing graininess or digital noise.

Understanding ISO sensitivity helps photographers make informed decisions when shooting in challenging lighting conditions, balancing sensitivity for optimal image quality.


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