Exposure Basics - How to get your camera out of Auto mode | Aaron Raymond | Skillshare

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Exposure Basics - How to get your camera out of Auto mode

teacher avatar Aaron Raymond, Photo Instructor, Nat Geo Expeditions

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

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

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.

      Welcome to Exposure Basics


    • 2.



    • 3.

      Shutter speed


    • 4.



    • 5.



    • 6.

      Exposure Compensation


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About This Class

Exposure is the fundamental reason most people use the automatic features on their camera.  In this class we’re going to learn about the three settings on your camera that control exposure; aperture, shutter speed, and ISO. We are going to examine each one and see how they relate to each other, how they adjust exposure, and what effect they have on the image.  We are also going to learn about the important concept of stops about how to use exposure compensation to make the image look the way you see it or the way you imaging it. And we are going to look at a lot of pretty pictures too!

Please leave feedback and positive reviews as it effects my ranking in on Skillshare algorithms.

If you enjoyed this try my new class about composition. Great Composition: Creating Better Photographs

And visit my website: www.raaronraymond.com

Meet Your Teacher

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Aaron Raymond

Photo Instructor, Nat Geo Expeditions


I started my career as an underwater photographer, which blossomed from my love for the ocean. I grew up on a sailboat diving for abalone off the coast of California. I love to photograph landscapes, nature, and wildlife - anything that allows me to capture fleeting moments and showcase the interaction of light and the natural world. I have traveled as a photographer from the depths of Madagascar's oceans to the heights of the Himalayas, cresting them at 18,500 feet on a Royal Enfield motorcycle to capture life on all sides of the planet.

After studying marine biology for two years, I attended and graduated from Brooks Institute of Photography in Santa Barbara, California, one of the world's top photography schools. I have taught photography workshops in the San Francisco bay are... See full profile

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Level: Beginner

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1. Welcome to Exposure Basics: Hello. My name is Aaron and I've been a professional photographer and photos record for about 15 years. I have taught columns level photography at school in India. For a few years. I've talked some workshops in California, and most recently I've been teaching of war in the lab, National Geographic Expedition ships. And I do, too. In this class, we're gonna learn about the three settings on your camera that control exposure. That's aperture shutter speed and I S O. We'll also learn about the concept with stops and exposure compensation. This classes for anybody wants to get their camera off of auto and into manual or shuddered a priority or after priority. It's also for anybody wants to see some beautiful images that illustrates concepts, so let's return. 2. Stops: stops are one of the most important concepts and photography, at least if you have a camera in manual mode and want to have control over your exposure, and you need to know what your cameras doing, even if it's in a program, would you can think of them as units of brightness. The three controls that adjust exposure are shutter speed, aperture and I S O, and they're all measured in stops. A change of one stop is halving or doubling the amount of light or the sensitivity of the sensor. For any lighting situation you choose, you can achieve the same tonalities by adding a stop on one of the three controls and subtracting one someplace else. I'm gonna go through each of these controls and subsequent videos. If you're beginning. Photographer, just try to understand this concept when you understand what a stop is and what the different controls do your huge step towards being a better photographer. So what? I'm talking about the same tonalities or different tonalities, and I'm talking about stops. This is what I'm talking about. I think this is a good exposure, and this is about one stopover exposed, so we just opened up the aperture one stop and didn't compensate with shutter speed or I s O and it got lighter. We could do this with I S o r shutter speed to by making Ni eso higher and getting more sensitivity out of the sensor or by slowing down the shutter speed as long as you get more exposure without compensating with one of the other controls, you're going to get a brighter image. This is a stop under exposed This time we closed down the aperture one stop without compensating with the shutter or the I S O. So the image got, Doctor, this is just about the driest, most technical slide in the whole class. These are all equivalent exposures. Meaning atonality is will be the same. This is just to illustrate the concept. Don't worry if you don't get it right away. This concept and these and what these numbers do is the purpose of this whole class. So as you can see the top row, we have eso 100 at F 16 and 11 25th of a second. It's exactly the same thing as I s 0 200 at F 16 and 1 2/50 of a second, which is exactly the same things. I so 50 F 16 in 1/60 of a second and I s 0 100 f 11 at 2 50 of a second. They're all the same. So between the top two, where adding one stop of sensitivity, meaning we're doubling the sensitivity of the sensor by changing the I s O from 100 to 200 and the f stop saying the same in both of them. So we have to subtract a stop of light by making the shutter speed twice as fast. So we go from 11 25th toe 1 2/50 And then when we go from the first to the third, we are making the I s 01 stop less sensitive. So 100 and 50 that's having the I S O. So it's one stop less sensitive, and the aperture is still the same. So we have to make the shutter speed twice as long. So that's 1/60 of a second. And in the last example we're keeping I s o the same. But we're opening up the aperture one stop. So 16 to 11 is one stop. And so we have to compensate that by taking away a stop of light on the shutter speed. So we're going from 1 25th 21 2/50 of a second. So if you don't understand that, don't worry about it. We are just going to take all of these controls individually, and we're gonna start with shutter speed. 3. Shutter speed: shutter speed. So this slide is basically everything you need to know about shutter speed on this one. Slide. Ah, slow shutter speed means exposure takes a longer time, and more emotion is shown in this subject. Orm or camera movement is visible, resulting in blurry images, which can be a good or bad thing, depending on what you want. Faster speed means exposure happens very quickly and less motion or camera shake is shown. These are probably the shutter speed you see on your camera. Most cameras go from about 30 seconds to an 8000 or so, but in theory they could approach infinity in both directions. If you have ah, bulb setting on your camera, it will take an exposure for as long as the shutter is pressed or until the battery dies. This isn't 1/3. This is in third stops. So as you can see every third number the bold ones are having or doubling, depending on which way you're moving. I don't recommend you memorize these numbers. They're on your camera. You can look at them whenever you want. Just remember the concept. A slow shutter speed makes motion visible on a fast shutter speed freezes, camera emotion and camera shake. So the general rule of thumb regarding camera shake is that you can hand hold any shutter speed that is faster than the inverse of the focal length of your lens. It sounds confusing, but it's really simple. If you have a 50 millimeter lens, you can handhold for 1/50 of a second or faster. If you're shooting with the 200 millimeter lens, you can handhold for a 2/100 of a second or faster. This was definitely true back when we were shooting film, but I think it's getting less true as we get higher resolution digital cameras, and we can really zoom in on the images once they're on the computer. Also, I'm not particularly study, so I recommend twice the focal length. So if you're shooting a 50 millimeter lens, shoot at 1 1/100 of a second or faster. If you're shooting a 200 millimeter lens, shooted a 400. The classic images to show shutter speed our water. This is a really sharp, frozen in time waterfall, the shutter speeds of 5/100 of a second, so pretty fast, not super fast. Until recently, I've been shooting on a camera that had noise issues that high s says. And most of my images don't have super fast shutter speeds. So how do you get a faster speed? You need a wide aperture. So that's a small number or a high I s O or both. You want an easy way and have a newish camera or you haven't watched all the videos before shooting. You could run the I s o up really high without too much noise. So set the I s own auto and choose shutter priority mode. Then set the shutter speed as high as you want and let the camera run the I s o up as far as it needs to, and the aperture is wide as it needs in order to get the proper exposure. If this is confusing, just put the camera on s and run the shutter up to a 500 or higher and see what you get. That's one of the many great things about digital. You can experiment for free and have immediate feedback. This is what faster speed looks like. You can see the drops of water frozen in the air behind the marine iguana, and this is a slow shutter speed with water moving and the camera on tripod. This is 30 seconds with the really slow shutter speed. You get a misty, ethereal lot look when shooting, moving water. So how do you get a slow shutter speed first used the lowest I. So you have been closed down the apertures much as you can. Then, if you need to, you can start adding neutral density filters, and you probably will if you're shooting in data and want Ah, really slow shutter speed neutral density filters like glade gray sunglasses for your camera. They just cut out light with no other changes. I had nine stops of mutual density here. You'll definitely need a tripod if you want to do this. But if you're steady and have vibration reduction, you can get pretty slow hand holding. Experiment with it. Try different lenses. If you're shooting fast moving things with a moderately slow shutter speed, you'll see some motion. This is another slow shot. You get an idea of how long the exposure is by how far the Sally Lightfoot crabs air moving in the foreground and how misty the moving water is in the center of the frame again. Fast shutter speed usually want to shoot birds, especially birds, and fly it with a fast shutter speed. But this is a wispy, ethereal, half second long image of a Siegel in flight. I think it looks pretty cool. Another slow shot. Some people mistake this for an aerial shot of a mountain range with clouds, but the cameras only about five feet off the ground. It's a little spit of rock heading out into the ocean. You can use these cop these concepts on anything. This is a fast shutter speed. This is a This is bull taming in India in your moderate slow, a shutter speed panning. So I'm losing the camera with the bowl fast shutter speed. This is a Siris of shots to give you an idea of what the different speeds look like. I went to Iceland last year and took these photos of God a fuss. If I was shooting this for the purpose of this presentation, I would have taken it to extremes like an 8000 of a second to 3rd 30 seconds. But I wasn't so I started at a moderately fast ish 1 1/100 of a second. You can see the ripples clearly, and you can see the texture in the waterfall a bit slower. 1/15. Everything's a bit softer. The ripples have softened. The water looks a bit caught me, but you can still see some texture. Slower still 1.6 seconds. The water is just wispy lines. Now. The ripples are even softer, and the standing waves are becoming more prominent. Eight seconds. The waterfall is totally smooth, and you can still see a few ripples, but mostly just standing waves would get smoother. A factor can even longer exposure. But I didn't ended up shooting a different angle, though this is 15 seconds and it is probably my favorite shot. Have got a fuss, so I'd like you guys to experiment with shutter speed. Try a different lenses if you have them and see how they affect the visibility of movement . See what really slow shutter speed light looks like. And what a really fast shutter speed looks like. Upload your three favorite shots, the project tab and feel free to ask me any questions you have in the community tab 4. Aperture: aperture or F Stop. The aperture is the size of the opening in the lens. Ah, large opening lets in more light and gives you less step the field. A small opening let's in less light and gives you more depth of field. So these air the F stops, the bold is the whole stops and others or third stops. The underlying numbers are the most common ones is the ones you'll probably see on your lens. If you want to take your photography really far, I do actually recommend you memorize thes that will come naturally if you do a lot of photography. This number sequence is based on the inverse square law. It shows up throughout photography and the physics world in general, for instance, sound radiation gravity. They all obey the inverse square law, but back to photography. So as the aperture gets smaller, depth of field increases and the F stop number increases as the apple tree gets larger, the depth of field decreases and the F stop number decreases. I'm gonna keep repeating this over and over again because it's really important for the more advanced photographers and going to go into a bit more detail about the actual numbers . So according to inverse square law, the whole stops are increasing by the square to so every other hole, not number, are every other hole stop is doubling because it's square to to times square to to is to, and the square root of two is roughly 1.4. So one time two square to two is 1.4 Time described it to is to Time two squared it to its 2.8 times where 22 is four, 5.68 etcetera, etcetera. As you can see the chart, um, I have the chart. Late outs, the numbers on top of each other are two stops apart and each double so one 248 is down the first row vertically and Struve all the columns. But let's just go out another full stop. We've got 14 to a 5.6 11 so all you really have to remember is one and 1.4, and you can figure out all the F stops for the more beginning photographers. As you can see, the opening gets smaller as the number gets larger. This is really confusing to beginning photographers because the number is the denominator of a fraction, so F stands for focal length, so it's the focal length of the lens over that number. So, you know, obviously one 1/4 is 1/4. It's going to be larger than 1/8 0 that's an eighth. We go into a lot more detail about this, but I just want to give you an explanation so you know why it seems backwards. This is a large aperture, so small number and shallot up the field sometimes is referred to as opening up the aperture. This is a small aperture, so large number and deep depth of field. This is called closing Down. The aperture depth of field is one of the most powerful creative tools that photographer has. It's often helpful to use shallow depth of field toe. Isolate your subject. If you want, you can adjust step field using aperture priority mode. It's easier if you don't have to think about shutter speed. Just make sure it doesn't get too slow. If you don't want camera shake. Remember, Big number like 16 or 22 is a small aperture and deep depth of field a small number like 28 or four is a big aperture and AmeriDebt that field shallow depth of field. It is great for Portrait's Fortress. Could be animals to not just people. You can see the shallow depth of field here in the foreground. It's it's really soft, and out of focus is F four. This is, Ah, bright, busy background, but having obits soft brings your attention back to the girl F 2.8 Often, people say great depth of field, but I prefer broad depth of field or anything that doesn't imply good, because the opposite of great is bad and shallow depth of field is often great again. Usually want Teoh isolate your subject, and shallow depth of field is a great way to do that. But landscape photography is usually accepted. Exception. This is a small aperture F 16. I try not to go past 16 or sometimes 18 4 diffraction reasons, but that's beyond what I want to talk about in this class child up the field again. The girl's face is sharp, but I think it be a weaker image of everything was sharp again. Small aperture sharp from foreground to background at 16. Sharp smoke soft face. If the whole image was sharp, I think this would be a much weaker image. That's 28 so wide open aperture. I'm using depth of field. Isolate the subject again. Often when shooting a portrait. I'll have the I sharpened both nose and ears out or more often, the nose or ears sharp and everything else out. But that's why I take lots and lots of pictures. Another small aperture, sharp foreground to background F 16. So I want you guys to go out and play with depth of field. Using aperture. Try to make a portrait with the background really soft. It may help to use a longish lens and get as close as you can and use a wide open aperture . Then try Make an image with really deep depth of field. Could be a landscape or anything as long as it's, ah, deep depth of field. Pick out your favorite two or three and upload them to the project section, and we would ask me any questions you may have 5. ISO: I s O stands for International Standards Organisation. So they have set the standard. This means that the I S O settings were going to be the same from one company to the next. And that's a good thing. It determines thesis NC tive ity of the sensor or the film. If you happen to be using film, be higher. The I s o the more sensitive and the more noise with film. It's called grain, but it's basically the same thing the lower the I s o the less sensitive and the less noise or grain. I want to be very clear that I'm talking about digital noise and not audio noise. Some beginning photographers get really confused when I start talking about noise. This is what digital noise looks like. It's the digital equivalent to film grain. You generally want to stay as close to your base. Eso is possible with newer cameras. That's not much of an issue. For most cameras. The basis is between 64 200. They may have lower settings, but there's no noise benefit to going lower. Most cameras were going to produce great images up to about 800 and acceptable images up to 10,000 and some cameras. You could go even higher without getting unacceptable noise on my camera. The base I says 100. There's a low setting. That is 50. But I only use it if I want to slow the shutter speed down. This is a very clean, low noise portrait. Very smooth tones and sharp lines. Very good detail is another very low noise image. I s 0 100 You can see it again. Smooth tones, sharp lines and good detail. This was taken on a full frame sensor, but medium format cameras have ah way better noise profiles in full frame cameras which in turn have better knows noise profiles than crop sensors. This is a high noise image. Hi. Hi. I s so long exposures and brightening and under exposed image All increased noise at night just to save time. I usually run the I s o all the way up to get a good idea of what the image is going to look like before I shoot a longer exposure with lower I s O 6400 was as high as my camera would go when I shot this. This was shot in a five d mark two. And just for the example Here I turned off the noise reduction in light room. There are lots of ways to reduce noise. There's tools and light room and Photoshopped and most other imaging at image editing software. And there are stand alone programs like Noise Ninja Nick Define and Topaz de Noise. By the way, uh, Nick programs are all free now since Google bought Nick, Here is another noisy image. I s 0 51,200 So if your aperture is as wide as you can make it for the given subject, you pick the depth of field you want and you're shutter speed as as slow as you can go for the situation, then you have no choice but to raise the I s 02 Whatever it takes to get a good exposure noise is much more acceptable than camera shake. So play with your eyes so settings on your camera and see how effects the aperture in the shutter speed taken image with the I s so all the way down and one with it all the way up and see the difference both in how the image looks and how it affects the other controls been started the lowest I e isso and systematically razed the I s O and see how high you can go and still have an acceptable image. This will be different for every camera make and each individual photographers tastes In the next video, we're gonna talk about exposure compensation. 6. Exposure Compensation: So with these three controls in mind Shutter aperture and I s O. I used to shoot Onley in manual or after priority moods and I would always set the I S o manually, That is, until recently, since I got a newer camera, I have been using shutter priority to and often leaving my eyes of auto. If your camera has a good noise profile, you can shoot in manual with the I S O and auto. That way you have control over both the aperture and the shutter speed, and you're letting the camera just the I S O to give you a good exposure. But always keep track of what all three controls air doing and it is doing something you don't like. Just switch back to manual, so you have control the exposure. Compensation controls may look like this. It's pretty easy to understand. If you want the image lighter, you add light by moving the marker on the light meter to the right or towards the plus. If you want it darker, you subtract light by moving the marker to left or towards the minus. Just take a shot. Look at the back of the camera and decide if you want the scene lighter or darker. If you know how to read a history Graham, that's even better. It's okay for the highlights to touch the right if you're shooting and raw, because the Instagram's based on a JPEG preview generated by the camera and you can get them back with a raw file. I'm not going to go into hissed a grams or raw right now because it's beyond the scope of this class. But I will tell you to always shoot raw. I have my camera set up so that the rear wheel controls exposure compensation when I'm in after priority or shutter priority. And it controls the aperture when I'm in manual so I can effectively use the rear dial to do exposure compensation in manual aperture priority or shutter priority. Newer cameras have really good computers to figure out what the exposure exposure is supposed to be, but they can still be fooled by lighting situations. They're supposed to look dark or light if you're shooting Ah, high key image that is a bright image, like a polar bear on ice or a great white sand beach. Your camera may under exposed the image to try to make it more of a neutral town. And you'll need to compensate by adding exposure to make it brighter again and a low key image, one that is supposed to be dark like seals on dark rocks or blacks cat in a coal mine. Your image will be overexposed because again, the camera's going to try to make it middle tone. So you need to compensate by making the scene darker and taking right away. The cameras almost always gonna be confused if you want toe blow out the background to have detail in what would otherwise be a silhouette. So this is a high key image that the light meter wanted toe under expose. So I had to add a little light not too much, because it's really easy to lose detail in snow and ice here. The camera wanted to try to show detail in the background, but I wanted it pure black, so I took away some of the light by moving the exposure compensation dial in the minus direction. If you were in manual, just move the marker on the light meter a bit to the darker direction. If you can't figure out how to adjust your exposure. Compensation. Google it. But if you still can't figure it out, just send me the make and model of your camera and I'll try to figure it out. The camera wanted to make this langur monkey silhouette against the cloudy sky in the background, but I want a detail in the face, the monkey, So I had to overexpose it by 3.5 stops. This isn't a wild, by the way. Most people think it's in a studio with a white seamless. Here is another one that the camera wanted to over expose. I wanted to have some deep shadows and rich blacks, so I adjusted the exposure compensation, too under expose it for the section. I want you guys to try to find a scene that is supposed to look dark and use exposure compensation to make it look the way you want and do the opposite find. Assume that supposed to look bright and make it look the way your eyes sees it by using exposure, compensation toe light in the image, and that's the end of this class. I hope you enjoyed it. I enjoyed making it and let me know if you have any questions. I'll try to respond quickly. If I have access to an Internet connection, I'll be out of touch for a bit if I'm on an expedition. Um, so I hope you enjoyed it. Thank you.