Back to basics - the exposure triangle

Back to basics - the exposure triangle

The exposure triangle is very important but also a very difficult concept to understand. That's why I start with a basic explanation and some misunderstandings. Because there is a lot of misinformation and that causes a lot of confusion.

Let's start with the triangle itself. There are 3 elements in your camera that affect the exposure of your photo: aperture, shutter speed and ISO. There is nothing more. Also every automatic program such as AUTO or portrait mode or sports mode only uses these 3 elements for the exposure. So you can just set everything that these automatic modes do yourself and then you have control over these elements, instead of letting the computer take care of it.

These three things can be linked together as a triangle. It is important to know that your light meter plays an important role in this. This one always tries to keep the triangle in balance, exactly in the middle between all white and all black. So exactly at 0.

This means that if the light changes, for example the sun suddenly breaks through, 1 of the 3 elements is adjusted to get the light meter to 0. But even if the light remains the same and you choose a different aperture, a different shutter speed or a different ISO, this will directly affect 1 of the other elements (or in the M position on your exposure of your photo).

In a later blog we will discuss what happens in the different modes when you adjust ISO, aperture or shutter speed and how you can use that to your advantage.

But first, let's get the misunderstandings out of the way:

If I want to make my photo lighter, I raise my ISO:

Wrong: because if you increase your ISO, it affects 1 of the other elements because your light meter wants to stay at 0. This only works if you shoot in M ​​mode, but I only recommend that in certain circumstances, M is not the best option for most conditions. So never use M because you think real photographers only use M, that's not true.

If I want a photo brighter I have to go to M because I can't do that in the other modes

Error: this can also be in aperture priority or shutter priority with your exposure compensation

ISO should always be kept at 100

Wrong: there are many circumstances where you can or even have to run a high ISO both indoors and outdoors, I would like to teach you this.

Auto ISO is most convenient

Wrong: there are circumstances that you can opt for auto ISO, but it is better to make sure that you make decisions yourself and use your ISO consciously instead of letting the computer determine what the best ISO is.

The M position is best, because then you determine the exposure and you are not dependent on the light meter

Wrong: because if you shoot M you will turn the knobs 9 times out of 10 until your light meter is at 0. So you do use your light meter. In the other modes, the computer takes you to 0 in a millisecond, while you do exactly the same but need a few seconds.

I really never learn, too complicated:

Wrong: you can learn it too, step by step and with the right coaching and I will help you with that. Because I have been able to explain it clearly to a lot of people and now understand it.

I'm not going to say it's very easy, but with the right personal coaching you will learn it too. I also explain everything step by step clearly in the Everything about photography course, which is also part of the Golden Hour Membership.


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