In photography, we do everything to take good pictures and How to get good exposures will help you to achieve this goal.

Exposure is the amount of light per unit area (the plane of the image times the exposure time), that hit a photographic film or image sensor.

Good Exposure can be determined by shutter speed, lens aperture, scene lighting, and light sensitivity of the sensor or film.

Everything  you need to know to get good exposures

The Exposure is measured in lux/seconds and can be computed from the exposure value (EV) and scene illumination.

In photographic jargon, an exposure generally refers to a single shutter cycle.

For example, a long exposure refers to a single shutter cycle, prolonged enough to capture low-intensity light, while multiple exposures involve a series of relatively short shutter cycles.

There are more than one type or techniques to get different exposure results, we have photos with good exposure, photos overexposed and also underexposed.

None of this is considered wrong, as long as it does not disturb your image, or that such exposure is used with concept art.

So in this world of light currency sometimes we will have to make some trade-off in order to get good photos.

In some cases, as in digital photography, some things are a little better than others when talking about technical concepts of a  digital sensor for example.

An overexposed photo will always be overexposed and will almost never appear with good exposure.

This happens because the amount of information, light, that has been sent to the sensor has already broken its limit and can no longer be suppressed, even in the post-production process.

The other way around images that had been captured underexposed sometimes can be useful if you bring up the exposure in post production.

How to get good exposures

Correct exposure, or good exposure, can be defined as an exposure that achieves the intended effect of the artist.

A more technical approach recognizes that a photographic film or sensor, in the case of digital photography, has a physical limitation.

This limitation we call Dynamic range and, it is a great subject of divergence among some photographers.

When shooting, whether on film or digital, exposure must be within the Dynamic range’s ability to be accurately recorded, and that´s it!

In a very simple model, values ​​that stay outside the Dynamic range are recorded as black or white.

Black when the photo is underexposed and white when the shot is overexposed.

Breaking the dynamic range will leave aside nuances and colors that would serve as details to this photo.

Therefore, in order to take good exposure pictures, the goal is to adjust the exposure with the manipulation of your camera and lights.

All this process will allow the sensor, or film, to record properly the light that enters through the lens with a balanced volume of shading and highlighted areas.

This ensures that no ‘meaningful’ information is lost during capture.

It is worth noting that the photographer can carefully use overexposure or underexposure in the photograph to eliminate “insignificant” or “undesirable” details.

As an example, we have a white altar cloth that can look impeccably clean when overexposed, or the photographer can emulate the heavy shadows of the noir films using underexposure.

How to get good exposures

Overexposure

A photograph can be described as overexposed when you have a loss of details and highlights, that is, when the bright, or clear, parts of the photo are too bright or totally blank.

From a technical point of view, we have problems with the image below, but it is worth mentioning that using overexposure with an artistic concept is totally valid.

How to get good exposures

Underexposed

A photograph can also be described as underexposed, this happens when there is a loss in shadow areas when important areas in the dark parts of the photo run out of detail or are so dark that they are indistinguishable from the black color.

How to get good exposures

How to get good exposure

Here are a number of side issues, since taking good exposure pictures can be easy and difficult at the same time because you rely heavily on lighting knowledge, machine configurations, and exposure compensation systems.

Digital cameras have the automatic exposure setting, abbreviation AE, at this node the camera is the one who calculates and adjusts the exposure settings to match as closely as possible to a good exposure or a balanced exposure.

How to get good exposures

How to get good exposures

In addition to the automatic mode, we have the priority modes, where we choose which aspect we want to control and the rest of the calculations and settings are in charge of the camera.

Aperture Priority mode, this mode gives you control over the aperture of the lens aperture, or aperture, while the camera calculates and adjusts the shutter speed and sensitivity, or ISO.

This mode has different names or abbreviations depending on the manufacturer of the camera, while in Nikon the abbreviation is made by the letter P in the Canon is made by the letters AV.

How to get good exposures

How to get good exposures

Priority the shutter, in this mode you have control over the shutter speed of the camera, and the rest as the aperture and ISO are done automatically.

In each case, the actual exposure level is still determined by the camera’s exposure meter. Like the above configuration this way represented in Nikon by the letter S and in the Canon by the letters Tv.

Manual exposure

In manual mode, the photographer adjusts everything. Lens aperture, shutter speed, and even ISO for good exposure.

Many photographers choose to control the aperture and shutter independently because opening the aperture increases the exposure but also decreases the depth of field, a slower shutter also increases the exposure but also increases the possibility of smudges, which can be Used as an artistic tool in some cases.

Like the photo below it uses a slow shutter adjustment and set of lights to create this light painting effect on the photo.

How to get good exposures

There is another control that can also help you a lot when it comes to getting good exposure when you are shooting in manual mode, it’s ISO.

An appropriate exposure for a photograph is determined by the sensitivity of the media used, film or in the case of the sensors of the digital cameras a simulation of this sensitivity.

For photographic films, sensitivity is referred to as film speed and is measured on a scale published by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO).

Faster film, that is, with a higher ISO rating film, requires less exposure to make a good image.

Digital cameras often have variable ISO settings that provide additional flexibility.

A good exposure depends on these 3 items aperture, shutter speed. And film sensitivity, or ISO.

But there is one thing that people always forget is the amount of light available, it’s no use having the camera with the most flexibility of settings if you do not have light.

Exposure Metering

Anyone who has been photographing for some time is already accustomed to reading the information that the camera has to determine if it has a good or bad exposure.

And the easiest, and by no means effective, system is the camera’s own exposure meter that tells you whether the image will be underexposed, overexposed, or well exposed.

How to get good exposures

Notice the highlighted area of ​​the photo above, when your indicator moves to the positive side this indicates that your image will be overexposed.

As he walks in the opposite direction, the negative side, the meter is telling you that your image will be darker or underexposed.

The intent is to use the settings available on the camera so that the meter stays at 0, so you can potentially take pictures with good exposure.

The exposure triangle

As you may have noticed, basically 3 elements control the exposure, aperture, speed, and ISO, so we call it a triangle and we need the 3 to take good exposure pictures.

Shooting in manual mode you will have to be always attentive to these 3 items, and any changes you make in one of them can influence the others 2.

Imagine that you are photographing a cyclist in a low-light and non-flash environment, you will likely tend to manipulate the ISO of your machine so that it has more sensitivity to light, and is able to capture the cyclist at that moment and freeze it.

Okay, it works more notice that the louder you go with ISO, the more noise you are putting into your image.

If you decide to manipulate the shutter speed, you will tend to slow it down, so that you do not increase ISO so much, this will cause you to not capture the cyclist’s image clearly because the shutter slows the risk of you moving and Generating blots is very large.

Oh, you think, since I can not move here or there, I’ll fiddle with the opening. And again you have a potential hand failure if you only move the opening.

One of the first things you will notice is that you have manipulated the depth of field, and maybe you have not yet achieved a good exposure.

Soon corrections in all values ​​are required depending on the scenario in which you find yourself.

How to get good exposures

Above you see the relationship between the shutter speeds and the captured image, the sticky draw represents how possibly your image will remain.

Already in the next image, you see the same type of correlation, only this time with the opening of the lens.

How to get good exposures

How to get good exposures

In the previous photo we have the relation of this only with the noise level, the higher the ISO plus noise in the photo.

Using this 3 items in balance you will, in fact, take pictures with good exposure. Mastering them will make your photos look much better and more beautiful.

Aperture

Aperture is one of the three pillars of photography, the other two being ISO and shutter speed.

And undoubtedly it is the most talked about subject and perhaps one of the most important because aperture adds dimension to photography, and has the ability to isolate the object of interest or magically make it all focus.

How to get good exposures

Simply put, the aperture is a hole inside the lens, through which light travels until you find the sensor of your camera.

It is easier to understand the concept if you think of our eyes.

Every camera we know today is designed like human eyes. The cornea in our eyes is the front element of a lens – it gathers all the outer light, then the light is diverted and passed to the iris.

Depending on the amount of light, the iris may increase or decrease, or control the pupil size, which is a hole that allows light to pass further into the eye.

The pupil is essentially what we refer to as aperture in photography.

The amount of light entering the retina (which functions as the camera’s sensor) is limited to the size of the pupil – the larger the pupil, the more light enters the retina.

Thus, the easiest way to remember opening up is by associating it with your pupil. Large pupil size equals large aperture, while small pupil size equals small aperture.

With different openings, you are allowing entry and more or less light you can also control the depth of field or DOF.

Shutter speed

The shutter speed is where the other side of the magic happens – it is responsible for creating dramatic effects by any freezing action or motion blur.

Simply put, a camera shutter is a curtain in front of the camera sensor that stays closed until the camera shoots.

When the camera fires, the shutter opens and fully exposes the camera sensor to light that passes through the lens aperture.

After the sensor is collected, the shutter closes immediately, preventing the sensor from being hit by more light.

The button that triggers the camera is also called a “shutter” or “shutter button” because it triggers the shutter to open and close.

Shutter speed, also known as “exposure time,” represents the length of time that the camera shutter stays open to expose the light to the camera’s sensor.

If the shutter speed is fast, it can help freeze the action completely.

How to get good exposures

If the shutter speed is slow, you can create an effect called “motion blur”, where moving objects appear blurred along the direction of motion.

The auxiliary use of lighting, more precisely flash, will help a lot in the freezing of objects.

How to get good exposures

Using the desired shutter speed in conjunction with the desired aperture, or why not say necessary, you’ll already be able to take pictures with good exposure. But of course, your triangle is not yet complete.

ISO

It will be always challenging for any photographer to take good pictures without the least knowledge about what ISO does.

In very basic terms, ISO is the camera’s sensitivity level to the light available. The smaller the ISO number, the less sensitive the sensor is the light, while a higher ISO number increases the sensitivity of your camera or sensor.

The component inside your camera that can change the sensitivity is called an “image sensor,” or simply “sensor.”

It is the most important part of a camera and is responsible for collecting light and turning it into an image.

With increased sensitivity, the camera’s sensor can capture images in dimly lit environments without using a flash. But greater sensitivity always adds noise, or grain, to the image.

How to get good exposures

More to use ISO since it can bring noise to the image?

Well this is very simple, without always you have the amount of light you would like to take to take a particular photo, so the sensor of your machine needs to be more sensitive to light exist in that environment or moment.

As we have seen before changing one of the values, aperture, ISO, or shutter speed, can lead to adjustment needs in one of the other two so that you can take pictures with good exposure.

A good example of this is when you are struggling with the shutter speed x the amount of light you have available.

Imagine a scene where the shutter speed needs to be 1 second at ISO 100 so the scene is well exposed, and you would like to freeze the movement.

By simply switching to ISO 800, you can capture the same scene in 1/8 of a second or in 125 milliseconds.

This can mean a world of difference in photography as it can help freeze movement and take good exposure pictures.

Using this triangle correctly and understand how the light works hard you will not take pictures with good exposure.

The best tip I can give to those who take good pictures and if they put behind the camera set in manual mode and in situation with different amounts of light and always use the calm during the adjustment of your camera, this when you will certainly build a relationship Of intimacy with your equipment and with the passing of the clicks you will notice that things have begun to improve.

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