Basics of Photography - Exposure Triangle | Colin Butterworth | Skillshare

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Basics of Photography - Exposure Triangle

teacher avatar Colin Butterworth, Photographer, Graphic Artist & Printer

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.

      Introduction - Exposure Triangle


    • 2.

      ISO Exposure - Triangle


    • 3.

      Shutter Speed - Exposure Triangle


    • 4.

      Aperture - Exposure Triangle


    • 5.

      The Exposure Triangle - Putting it Together


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About This Class

The Exposure Triangle sounds difficult, but it is the basis of every photograph. It is made up of Shutter speed, Aperture, and ISO. Once you have a grasp of these basic facets of photography you will be able to create any image you can think of.

In this course we will cover these three basic and powerful elements of photography; what they do and how they can effect your images. Knowing these basics will not only help you to improve your photographs, but will also help you get out of Auto mode on your camera.

Meet Your Teacher

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Colin Butterworth

Photographer, Graphic Artist & Printer


I am a professional photographer with more than a decade of experience. I pride myself in the fact that I don't specialise in any one particular genre. I am skilled in many areas of photography including portraits, landscapes, street, abstract, sports, event photography and many others.

I have a background in the printing industry with two decades of experience in the pre-press and design studio. I am well versed in photo processing and manipulation. I am also a digital print tradesman. My creative background puts me in a unique position as a photography creative with knowledge that spans a wide range of areas.

You can follow me on Facebook and Instagram. You can also find more of my work on my website:

See full profile

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1. Introduction - Exposure Triangle: Hi. My name's going better if and welcome to my class the expression triangle. What is it? It is the Bisys for every single photograph you type. What do you have a point and shoot your camera or days? A lot? The exposure trying comes into it somewhere. Now if you do have a point and shoot days later can do manual adjustments. You have full control over that. Expose your triangle. So what's involved with it? Explosion triangle involves the ice. I show speed and aperture. All three of those control the amount of light that you get to your sensor. So what, we're gonna Calvary's, what age of days things do. What are the drawbacks and how can you manipulate that explosion trying to get the images that you really want. So come home with me. Let's get involved and get into the course 2. ISO Exposure - Triangle: the exposure triangle Eyesight. What is the inside? Eso is a figure that we give to the light sensitivity of your sensor. It started with film. There's been transferred to the senses into Did you wear? And I saw a figure of 100 is generally the native eyesight of your camera sensor. It's not always sometimes 200 sometimes is 50 but on my cameras it's 100 at 100. Your camera needs the most amount of light to make the exposure. So what if you need twice as much light? What you do is you go up, they stop in your eyesight. So what's this stuff? The stop is a measurement of light and I saw 100. If you want to double the amount of light coming into your sensor, you increase the eyesight to 200. If you want a double it again, you got from 200 to 400. See what happens. It it's nice and medical. You're doubling the figure each time met. Your camera will have different increments. They won't be just 102 104 100 Don't have figures in between by thirds of a stop, and I allow you to manipulate your image to get the explosion Correct. Now, if you want to decrease the amount of light coming in by half, say your eye. So 800. If you go to Isis 400 you have halved demand of light. So distended eyesight numbers. If you study in 100 will be 102 104 108 116 132 164 100 solar. So let's move on to some images I've taken. I'll show you the settings of used and explain why I used icings this first image. We showed it. I saw 100. If 32 shots made 1 22nd we'll get to the aperture and shutter speed life. But the eyesight is set at 100 on this image. He was taken just after sunrise. It was very broad, so the amount of light that was there available for the shot warranted, and I saw 100. The benefit, also by side 100 is it is the cleanest eyesight I could use. When you increase your eyes, I you start to increase. What's called noise generally hangs out in shed eyes. I have anemia. I'll show you later. That show is exactly what I'm talking about. But in this case on the landscape, I wanted to use a nice of 100 to keep it nice and clean. This next image. It shows that I said when others Well, he was taken just after the sun and reason Danet Port Line. I'm shooting towards the sun, whereas the previous image always shooting alongside the sun. It was coming across. This one's coming directly at me, you know. I said $100 over to use that faster shutter speed and catch port ladder in. I said, Well, it again. I wanted the best possible eyesight I could get. And that was 100. The next image also also want to do is taking around lunchtime. That's on the back. This is my daughter. She was running around and this is one of the few images you actually sort of looked at the camera most the time I got shots in the back of the head. She was moving very fast in the short. We have also won hundreds of Norse nice quality. The Upshur is 7.1 and shows what is 1/60 of a second. We'll get two days later. The next image is of my son indoors. So when I went indoors, the light was reduced. So I increased my eyesight to 400 to compensate. The next huge is shot in a very dark shit. So I increase your eyesight. I'd 100 again. I'm increasing the amount of light getting to the sensor. Although if you look at the settings on this image is probably wasn't enough that 800 eyesight Stewart 5.6 aperture And my shows were 1 10 from the second I handheld this shot and I was very lucky that actually came out the next images shot at dusk the cameras on a tripod because I was doing a 12th exposure. But even now is doing attention exposure which will discuss life. I needed a higher I so two led light to get into the center. So I've gone up to an eyesight of 1600. If you zoomed in, you would say in the shadows that is dying to get some noises. Now this image we showed it. I saw 6400. I was your F 2.8 and the shutter speed of 30 seconds. Now this image was shot around midnight to get the Milky Way. You know, I saw it was 6400. Obviously, I needed a lot more light coming into the center at these exposure. I had some noise I can't can. Can't dispute that I had some noise, but the explosion was pretty much correct. So the noise wasn't really that bad. This next image shows what bad noise looks like. I say 25,600. You can see you gained *** of Keller in shut of area noise lives in shadow areas. Mostly you can't get elsewhere, but that's where it generally hangs out now. The exposure wasn't correct. It was under exp ized. So I get it correct. I had to increase the exposure and price processing. By doing that, I made the drain and noise look worse. So how do you get around it? Well, like I said, this high there's and what you can do. But if you make the explosion correct, so you didn't have to open up the shadows at all. The noise wouldn't be so prominent. So if you're going to use a high eyesight, you should make sure that your exposure is correct. Another thing about going on a high Isa is that you lose some sharpness in detail, and also colors tend to look a little off this image here, taking in the magnificent bamboo doings golf course, we showed it a nice of 12,800. Basically, I was scouting out the area, taking images in low light. Seeing what worked, this image shows the noise and the lack of detail in huge. The next one is taking exactly same spot, but with a proper exposure. I said the I said 100 to make sure it was the best it could pay. And indeed, my exposure correctly if you look at the difference between two, is quite dramatic. In the signage, the detail is there and the colors of correct. So the main thing to take away from ice always and low number like 100 you need the most amount of light possible to make you exposure. If you need more light, you increase that figure. So if you're up around 6400 eyesight, you don't nee is much like to make your exposure. The trade off is that you get noise as you go up. There's always a trade off from what you're doing, and you have to figure out what is best for your image. These guys are solid. 100 is the cleanest bit tykes more like to expose and 6400 or higher. It takes less light, but it's not quite as good inequality is that. So I sigh, Let's move on to another subject. 3. Shutter Speed - Exposure Triangle: the explosion triangle. Shutter speed, show speed. What does it take? The main thing it does do it is allows light into your camera sensor. If you take a really fast shutter speed, you're letting in very little light. If you have a very long shutter speed, it lets in a lot of light. So what happens on Byford eyes? If you're doing a really fast shutter speed, you can freeze action. You doing really slideshows? It's made things will blood. You have seen motion standard shot of spades studying half a second. His advice. If we want to go up a full stop of light, which we discussing fireside, we will go 2/4 of a second one. I have a second 1 15 from second 1/30 1 60 years, 1 25th 1 to 50 years. 1 500 And so this first image we showed at 1 500 of a second. It's trying to capture the sand and the bowl in motion shop. I mean fighters. What has happened? I is. It wasn't quite fast enough. If you look at the boat is still slightly elongated, that's because it was still moving as his shots made was fire. It doesn't mean it's a bad short. In many ways, it's actually good because it's showing that there's some motion happening in the image. This next image we shot indoors under spotlight at 13 20 of a second, I was able to capture the sweat flying off the opponent's head is he got hit, but it's still a little bit of motion if you look closely at the gloves this lightly blood , because it wasn't fast enough to capture them perfectly. As far as I'm concerned, I don't mind that it's a personal preference. It's up to the photographer to decide exactly how fast or how slow you want your satispay today in every region the same. Not this was shot up one to future for a second, and you can definitely see some Martian blue in the glove. And even in the body slowly doesn't make it a bad Friday. No, no, no. In many ways, I think this is a great photo, just the composition and the way you can see the action happening. You can feel that hit hitting his face. This next image Mr My Lovely Wife in New York, this one is about the end of the third week of their honeymoon. We've been going very, very hard for this entire three weeks, and this was the end of a very busy die in New York. My wife was tied. She didn't want to be up there. She just wanted get back to the room restaurant. But I want to keep going. So I dragged her up to the top of the rock and she decided to just sit on this window to oh , shooting. And it happened to turn around and see this same and I wanted to capture quickly. Must be because I knew my wife was not in the greatest mood and I didn't want to get killed because of the shot. So I quickly raised the camera and fired off one shot at 11 idea. For a second. I was able to capture everything in shop pikers because it was fast, fast enough for this thing anyway. And if I know I'm planning a different feud, which will cover shortly and a nice I 400 allowed these two ever exposures to be correct. And what if you want to make things look blood this next image was shot 1/10 of a second. As you can see, the water he is moving. You can see that. But isn't the nooky what? What you normally see in a glance guy? I wanted to capture the motion off the water. I want to show you that there's still some form to it. So it 1/10 of a second exposure was correct. This next image. However, I wanted to show the water turning into a milky white. So 0.7 of a second, I was able to get that lovely saying You can see that it all comes down to your decisions. But in the field, If you want to show you some detail in the water or anything is moving, you might need a faster shutter speed If you still want to show the motion can't be too fast in this one. I wanted to make it look milky. What Psalm 90 explosion longer in this image, ordered to make the water looks somewhat abstract. It was broad daylight. I had my fielders, so I set my life side down and I shut my aperture down as far as a good guy. So I was leading in very little lot. So it that position I could shoot at 1/4 of a second at that speed was still able to get some motion. Well, showing some detail in this break. This next image The water was moving very fast in shade. This is water. It was coming over a spillway at the dam. I want to make it look abstract. So 1 44 2nd You can still see some detail on this break coming off, but the rest of it looks looks white. They have the same shutter speed 1 40 for a second on his scooter. I was about to make it look like he was making quite fast. In actual fact, I was waiting at the the lots and it scooted, pulled up. I knew it would take off recently. Slide and I quickly changed my settings to get much out of it as I could. The shutter speed of 1 40 was enough. It was all like again as he took off are simply panned with him. Panting is the technique that can produce wonderful images. You bet to see some panini and just coming out. So I'm pained. We've the cyclist allowing him to stay in five years while the background blood Eunice image. The technique is exactly the same. I was panic in his car, but because it was traveling it much greater velocity, I was able to use a shadow speed of 11 25th of a second. Even at that speed, I was able to show the motion in the vehicle. At what one even a second. I was able to capture these to go cats having crash. This was a very problem corner and I knew something was going to happen that won't want you for a second. I was out to catch a little bit of motion while also freezing him in time. I was just lucky to be in the right place at the right time. When the red Gachot read out of the back wheel of the white one. Another image of 11 idea of a second. This cow was traveling quite a speed, so I was still able to capture a lot of motion Well and a high shutter speed back to the slides, shutter speed at 10 seconds to really make the water in this wonderful term into a milky white at 20 seconds in this saying of the river, I was slow enough to capture the beautiful motion of the water and get a nice white streak running for your age. Now we're finished on this image, which was shot at 1 1600 of a second. This is a very fast shutter Speed. What? I use that well, my door here She was pretty fast. So I want to make sure our price Aaron in the same at 1 1600 of a second. I was I would do that. So the basics of shutter splayed out. If you want to capture something frozen in time, you need fast shutter speed. If you want to show emotion, you need to slow. Shutter speed is up to you as a photographer to make that decision when you take me to fight. So now we've covered shutter speed. Let's move on to the final subject, which is aperture 4. Aperture - Exposure Triangle: the exposure triangle aperture. That's what's happened. Just like eso and shutter speed. Aperture controls the amount of light that gets into your center. So what else is happy to do it? Average chicken Charles your debt field when you focus on something so you focus on my finger. If you have a shallow depth of field, you may only see my finger and fighters. You have a be different feud. You must like people saying my finger in my face in bikers that did. The field, basically is your focus point, plus a bit before and after that will be in focus after those points, it Charles off into one focused areas apertures referred to in F stops. The stop of light, which were spiking bad in eyesight, is where you even double the amount of light coming into camera center or have it near. Stay with me on this because, unlike shutter speed and I cite the figures for an F stop, do not make much sense Well started. If 1.4 to go up a full stop of light, you would go to if to Now I know you're thinking, but showed us beating. Eso doubled the figure so it shouldn't full stop me if 2.8, it all comes down to a mathematical question which I will not get into right here. But just know that these figures on the screen here are full stop increments. So starting 1.4, you're going to to 2.845 point 68 11 16 20 to 32 that are very standard averages savings. Your cover will have other settings on it. These are thirds of a stop. These allow you to slightly manipulate your image, your exposure. So as I've seen and a small shutter Speed se 1.4, you get a very, very shell. And if if you'd at an aperture of 22 you have a very wide differ feud. Now we have a look at some manages that show you exactly what that means. This first image, we showed that an average of one point I'd as you can see, only a very small portion of this image is in fighters. The wrist is out of fighters. That's because the debt fueled wasn't very big. Another, you mean shot at 1.8. The only thing there's in fighters is the horses. I, everything else is out of fighters. And if to point out, we get a little bit more did for field. But not much. The legal figures in sharp focus while the apple, it's slightly. And if ICUs That's because the debt fueled moving up we have. And if stopping 3.5, this is my ugly mug. My wife took the shot in this photo. My face is more less in shop fighters, but my years are going out of fighters because the depth of field is still quite shallow. There's enough there to get my eyes and my nose in fighters. But after that, everything else drops out in portrait like this. This is a very desirable look to have a shell, a different field to now I leave the main details. You fights being fighters, but you don't wanna go to shell out. Well, maybe you do. It really does depend on the photographer and what you want to capture. If you got really shallow, make sure important to you fighters on the I because everyone wants to see a shot. Boy, if you have a shell, a definite fighters of, say, one point I and your focus on the NYSE the I will not be in fighters that sound shelling, debt fueled years. If you do that, the image really isn't good enough. It is slightly higher average of 5.6 I was I would to capture the horse, which is another man and the China walking out into the pain. What I wasn't expecting was the phone to photo bomb me as I took the shot. He's out of fighters, but it doesn't matter. In this image, it actually works. It shows a bit of motion, shows himself in going on a new image. Also five points eaves. This pigeon isn't sharp fighters. Where is the background you can see is well, Anna fighters. Now we have an image at 3.5, which you would think would have list differ field. But this entire stadium is in focus. What? Is there something we probably weren't covers too much, but a lot of it depends on the lens that you're using in this image. I'm using it. I take middle middle age at 3.5 aperture. I have a lot of debt for field. If I was at 200 millimeters At 3.5 I wouldn't have as much depth of field He met a zoom. You have determines how much debt fueled yours. I have the more user mean like a 200 millimeters. This shell owe you a debt fuelled by Another factor is how close you are to the subject. If you're alone well away from what you're shooting the dead for field will be greater if you're choisir the deaf. If you're becomes shallower, they say things. It's something you have to think about when you're thinking about your dead for field. This next image if I has pretty much everything in fighters again edified not everything is in fighters. Society have stopped but I am much, much closer to the subject. By doing so, I have shallow the depth of field. His next image at F 16 has a lot of different field. But if 16 I have decreased, you meant a lot coming into my camera. And if 16 the actor is quite small compared to if 1.8, which is quite large again if 16 everything in this things in focus in this image that if I'd I actually wanted the background that started going out fuckers. It was a choice. A personal choice did I made when I was out in the field, The near pylons Aaron shop bikers that as they disappear into the distance, they got got a fighter's. On the other hand, with this image I've used in F Stop F 22 this has a very large, different field. So everything in the images and five years So the basics of apertura these. If you want a love like to get into your sensor, you need to open up your capture. A figure of sight 1.41 point eight or two. Well, let in a lot of light. What happens is your capture is very big. The trade off fees. You have a very Shelagh different field, so that's aperture. If you've also watched the ice Oh, and shutter speed videos, you now know the basics off your exposure triangle. In the next video, I'll try and explain how the special triangle can work for you and help you create measure images 5. The Exposure Triangle - Putting it Together: the exposure triangle putting it together. So now that you've seen the free videos on I side shows meeting aperture, you know what exposure trying was made up. Now I'm going to show you how you can use that knowledge to create the images that you want . The exposure triangle was made up of the shutter speed aperture. Each of them determines how much like gets into your camera sensor. They also determine how fast or slow the shots, babies, how much different fuels you have and how much noise you might have to do with post processing. It is up to you to decide what you need for any given saying. Got to show you some images here. These images main taIking was specific set of Sein's. What I'm going to show you is what you could do to potentially make them better. This is old guy to be about using the exposure triangle to help you in this image of the mode by we haven't eyesight of 200 aperture of F 16 and shutter speed 11 25th of a second. What we could do to make this image better is to decrease the eyesight to make it a clean. Your image is that I saw a 200. So if we decrease it by one stop toe 100 we've halved the amount of light coming into this image. So what we need to do, he's changed even the shutter speed or aperture. The shutter speed is correct. That 11 25 of the second. It is a good speed to capture this action. If I decrease it, it makes it harder to pain a fast moving object. So I'm gonna leave the 11 22nd in place instead, I can change my aperture. And if sick stain a lot of different fields in that image and I don't really needed all I need to do to gain one stop of light is dropped from what if 16 down to every living. By doing that, we reflect effectively changed the eyesight to the best possible position and we still have plenty of depth of field. The image would be taking exactly the same. You would not know any different in this next image. I was trying to capture my son. You know, elevator. He was moving quite fast. It was dark and I only had a split second to type show. The sittings were not correct. When I got the shot. Anyone I SE 400 actually for and show speed of 18 of a second captured the short. But it wasn't fast enough with the shutter speed. The aperture in this instance was actually wide open remains I had, so it couldn't go any further with that. I couldn't get any more light in the shutter. Speed needed to be faster. So to increase yourself speed, you are effectively decreasing the amount of light coming into the center. So let's move it up. Let's go from my knife. 2115. From there, we'll go to 1/30 from the Goto 1 60 for a second, that 1 60 for a second. You can hand out much shots, and you can capture, at least in this same you'll be able to capture more data in the face. So what have we done? We have increase the shutter speed by three stops, so we have actually decreased demand of Lloyd Boy three stops. We can't get any more out of the aperture. It's that it for Mrs Lowers that lanes could go So what we need to do is increase that I s O. So we'll increase the I side boy. Three stops from 400 to 800. I'd have to 1600. Is he saying 100 to 30. 200? With my settings. We have exactly the same exposure. But now, if I for about it was a big quicker, I would have had more data in my son's face. The trade off. I'd have more grind to worry about this next image. I really didn't do a good job. I know it didn't, but I had a split second detective shot. And this is what ago? The first in front is in sharp fighters. The three behind gradually get more. An effect is because of debt. Fueled was to shell my savings were eyesight 200 aperture, 5.6. Shallots waited 11 25th of a second. What I needed was more depth of field. So what? I need to move. I need to make my amateur to get more different field. I'm going to stop down my aperture by three stops. So from 5.6 to 8 from 8 to 11 from a living, two F 16. So we have decreased the amount of light by three stops again at 11 20 of a second. The shutter speed was pretty good. I could potentially go down toe 1 1/60 but die standing on a suspension bridge. So they are actually moving slightly. I don't want them to blow because of that. So I'm going to leave the 11 25 2nd shot displayed in place. What we will do is increase the I s O from 200 up three stops to get that back. So the guy from 200 to 400 400 to 800 a night 100 to 1600 with di settings I would have done a much better job of getting everyone in fighters wouldn't be perfect. What I actually need to do in this instance was not focused on the person in front. I need to focus on the person directly behind him. Differ. Field starts from the focus point and guys forward and backwards at that point. By focusing on the late person, I'm really getting difficult behind in the image, different field in front. He's doing nothing for me. So if I focused on the person in the middle of the image. The depth of field would have a better coverage. So not only changing the settings, I would need to change my focus point to the person in the middle. Before I had done that, the shot would have been absolutely perfect. As it was, it was still pretty good, but not perfect. Tested by six of the explosion triangle of shining in those three demonstrations. Hey, you can manipulate your exposure to get what you really need and want, but the best way to blood. It's to get out there and do it yourself. Take Fridays, change the settings, see what you can come up with. So what I want you to do to get there, take more photographs, get involved and see what you can learn. Have you enjoyed these videos? My nose column. Butterworth. Have a good day