Understanding Camera Exposure: The Logical Way to Control Your Image Brightness | Warren Marshall | Skillshare

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Understanding Camera Exposure: The Logical Way to Control Your Image Brightness

teacher avatar Warren Marshall, Passionate Photographer

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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 to Exposure Control


    • 2.

      Why Manual Exposure is Best


    • 3.

      First Things First


    • 4.

      What is ISO?


    • 5.

      Shutter Speed Explained


    • 6.

      Aperture Explained


    • 7.

      In Practice


    • 8.

      Your Cheat Sheet


    • 9.

      Assessing your Results


    • 10.

      Secondary Considerations


    • 11.

      Why not use Auto Exposure?


    • 12.

      Your Light Meter Scale


    • 13.

      Your Project


    • 14.



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About This Class

Exposing our photographs properly is the first step to producing worthwhile images. Learning how to control your camera’s exposure may be the best lesson you ever learn in photography.


My method of teaching exposure control is “different” from most, but the feedback I get from all of my students is that it works. I learn things by logic, by keeping things simple and by doing. I feel that most people are the same. So have a look at this class. It may enlighten you to the basic use and control of camera exposure.


I don’t just believe what people tell me. I go out and try it to test if it is true or not. You would be surprised how many myths and falsehoods are out there in the photography world. I encourage students to confirm what I teach by trying it out themselves in their real world photography.


I don’t like the “Exposure Triangle” which is the most common way that photography teachers explain these principles. I think the Triangle is confusing and doesn’t explain the relationship and relative uses of the three exposure variables of ISO, Shutter speed and Aperture.


Learning how to “correctly” expose your images is a basic skill that all photographers need to achieve to properly move forward to more advanced techniques.


Understanding the primary and secondary considerations of the three variables is also the key to creative photography.


Like any worthwhile skill, it takes a measure of practice to become familiar with these principles but, when you do, a whole new world of possibilities open up.

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Warren Marshall

Passionate Photographer


Hello, I'm Warren Marshall.

I am owner and head photographer at “Imagine Studios “ in Newcastle, Australia.

I am also owner and principal of “Newcastle Photography College”.


I have been a photographer for the past 40 years and a full-time professional photographer for the past 26 years.

I am passionate about image making. I also have a thirst for learning new techniques and love experimenting with my photography.

Our studio specialises in people photography from Weddings, Portraits, Headshots, Glamour, Lifestyle, etc.



In my time I have photographed many celebrities, politicians and entertainers but it is the average people that I enjoy working with the most.

See full profile

Level: Beginner

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1. Introduction to Exposure Control: Good day. My name is Warren Marshall. I'm a professional photographer from New Castle, Australia and also a photographic educator. I've been teaching photography for the last 12 years. And this class is all about exposure control. What is exposure? Exposure is the brightness or darkness of your photograph. We can vary how bright or dark or photograph is by controlling different settings on your camera. We're going to go through all that with you in this class. The reason why exposure is important is because as photographers, we aim to record as much detail as possible with our images from bright white to dark blacks so that we can show the story of our image. We don't particularly want to lose anything in the highlights or the shadows. We want to try and create an exposure that looks good. Whether we're happy to use our JPEG straight out of our camera, or whether we do post-production. More detail we can get our images. Generally speaking, the better the result will be. Now there are two ways that we can control our exposure. We can do it manually, which I'm going to explain in this class. And we can do it automatically, allow our camera to control the exposure, which I'm also going to explain to you. I'm a big fan of manual exposure because I'm in total control. And that's the way I teach photography. I like photographers that are teached to be in control and to be able to do the things that they want to do. Particularly when they move on to more advanced techniques. Being able to control your exposure on manual settings gives you a huge advantage when you move on to more advanced techniques. Things like flash, night photography, sport photography, close up or macro work. There's a whole range of advanced techniques that you understand much more easily if you understand how to control your exposure manually. My method for teaching exposure control is different to most other people. You may have heard of the exposure triangle, which is a system that most people use to explain the differences between various different exposure options. I didn't like the exposure triangle. I think it's confusing and I don't think it really explains the relationship between the three options that we have, which is ISO, aperture and shutter speed. The way I teach it is a more logical way, I think. And the feedback that I get from all of my students is that they can understand it so much more easily than by using the exposure triangle. I'll explain that in this class. As you get further into it. This course. Maybe the most important course you'll ever do in photography. Because it lays the foundation to be able to control your images. It helps you to be able to make your image the tone that you want to exposure is not an exact science. Exposure is a personal thing. So you may prefer to have images that are a little bit brighter to emphasize a particular part of your image, or a little bit darker to give you a different mood in your photograph. When we expose with manual settings, we can do that in total control. And after doing this course, I'm sure you'll be able to do that and you'll be able to understand the reasons why we do that. So join us in this class. I'm sure you're going to learn a lot. It does take a little bit of practice, but it could be the best thing you ever do for your photography. 2. Why Manual Exposure is Best: Good, I thank you for joining us in this course. Now, as I mentioned in the introduction, we can shoot with manual exposure or we can shoot with auto exposure. Auto exposure means that our camera is controlling how bright or hair darker images. Manual exposure means that we are controlling how broad or her dark hair exposure is. Being able to control your image with manual settings gives you so many more creative options. When we start shooting with high dynamic range photography. When you start bracketing your images, when you're shooting night photography or sport. Or a lot of those more advanced techniques, like painting, all of those sorts of things. Being able to control your camera on those manual settings makes it so much more easy. With manual exposure, We can also be more accurate. We can vary our exposure in small increments so that we can be very subtle in our lodging, in our exposure, in the way our image looks. And we need to be less reliant on post-production. We can control a lot more things in camera. We don't have to try to repair things that the camera didn't get right with the exposure. Because there are cameras just not as smart as we are. A camera tries to do the right thing, but most of the time it doesn't get at the why that we wanted. So we need to do a few tweaks in post-production. So shooting on manual settings can control that and can negate the need for using post-production techniques. Manual exposure also gives us more consistent results. So once we're set to our exposure that we're happy with, all of our images are exposed to the same. All of our images look consistent. So when we do get into post-production, as I loved to do post-production in Photoshop. When we do get in there, we can batch process or images because all of our images are exposed the same way. And if we shooting in auto exposure, then our image is going to be slightly different depending on the clothing that people are wearing, depending on the cropping that we use with their photograph, how close or how far away we are. So manual exposure gives us a consistency that allows you to do things much more quickly and much more carefully. 3. First Things First: As you may or may not know, there are three things that control the exposure of our image. How bright or how dark it is. We have ISO or ISO, we have aperture and we have shutter speed. Those three things mean that people have tended to put it into a triangle. If we have three variables, then the triangle is the obvious thing to use. I don't think it works nearly as well as a lot of people think it does. I think it's confusing for new people, and I don't think it explains the relationship between those three variables. If I had an apple, an orange, and a banana, I could put it into a fruit triangle. It doesn't particularly explain the reasons why each of those are different or the relationship between those three patients of fruit. Now when we're shooting on manual settings, the first thing we have to do is switch our exposure mode dial to manual, which is the dial on the top of your camera. Need to move it around to the m setting, which means we're on manual and we're controlling everything. The second thing we need to do so that we can control that ISO properly, is to turn off auto ISO option that will be in your menu. You can search through your menu to find out where your auto ISO is. Every camera's going to be slightly different. If you're not sure how to do that, then just Google it or you can look up on your in your instruction manual and it will tell you how to turn off that auto ISO. If we don't turn it off, then your camera is going to be taking over from us and creating changes that we don't particularly want. We want to be in total control when we're shooting these manual settings. So manual on your exposure mode dial and turn off your auto ISO. 4. What is ISO?: Now the first thing we're going to talk about is ISO, or ISO, some people call it. Iso is a measure of the sensitivity of your sensor to the light. It's not exactly that. Technically, it's slightly different, but we can think of it as being the sensitivity of your sensor to the light. Now we can turn up that sensitivity. So your sensor is very sensitive to light, so we can shoot in Dhaka conditions or we can turn it down lower so it's less sensitive. So we need a lot of light to produce an image. When I used to shoot on film, I could buy film and different ISO ratings. I could buy 100 ISO, four hundred, ten hundred ISO, and a few different ones as well. 100 ISO will be filmed that all would use on a bright sunny day because it wasn't particularly very sensitive. But I had plenty of light to use. So I could produce a good image on that 100 ISO film. If I was shooting by candlelight, for instance, in a Docker environment, I might choose a 1000 ISO, which was more sensitive film. So it allowed me to make images, clear images in those darker conditions. So your digital cameras exactly the same. You can change your ISO to any of those writings you want. Many modern DSLR and mirrorless cameras go up to 25000 ISO or more. So they're hugely sensitive. If you could probably make a photograph on a moonless night and have it come out reasonably well. Generally speaking, we tend to stick to the lower end of the ISO scale. A lot of photographers don't like raising their ISO too high. I don't mind it is not a problem for me. I'll explain the reason why later on. But ISOS or citizen measure the sensitivity of your sensor. Now, ISO is not the sort of thing or change very often. When I arrive at a location or I'm shooting in the studio, I'll tend to set my ISO to one value and I'll just leave it there for the whole session unless the light changes appreciably and I need to change my ISO. I tend to leave it on that sitting and I don't change it very often. That's why I like to separate our ISO from that exposure triangle. I think it's better to think of ISO as a separate thing. And that's the way I teach it, and that's why people understand it a little bit better. So for the purposes of what we're going to do today in this class and for your practice over the next few weeks or days, I'd like you to sit in ISO 400 on your camera. Now, various cameras will sit there ISO in various different ways. You may have an ISO button on the back of your camera that you can Hogan and turn your dial to give you ISO 400. If you're not sure how to change your ISO, again, just look up your instruction manual or look it up online and you'll be able to change it. But once you set that, I sort of 400. 400 is a good all-round ISO. And it allows you to shoot in reasonably bright conditions and reasonably dark conditions. But the advantage of locking narrow ISO at 400 for the next period of time is that you only have two things to worry about, your shutter speed and your aperture. It's much easier to juggle two things than it is to juggle three at once. So look that I saw at 400 for the time being. Once you learn these concepts and you're quite comfortable with these concepts we're going to talk about. Then you can play with your ISO and move it up or they understood the conditions. But as I said, it's not something that our change often. I tend to change it once when I get to a, to a location or when I'm shooting indoors, I'll set it once and I'll leave it there for most of the time. Then I just have to use my shutter speed and my aperture to control my exposure. 5. Shutter Speed Explained: Okay, Now we move on to shutter speed. Now shutter speed is a measure of how long the light is hitting your sensor. I'm going to demonstrate that by showing you on this old film camera. Because I can open the back on this film camera. I can't do that on my digital camera, obviously. But this is very similar to your digital camera. Now, this little rectangular structure here is your shutter. The shutter is a light-tight curtain that when you push the button to take your picture, it opens up, allows the light to come through on to your sensor, and then it closes off again. The amount of time that that shutter is open for allows more light or less light through, so it makes your picture brighter or darker. So controlling your shutter speed can control how bright or dark your picture is. Now I'm going to show you this. I'm going to change my shutter speed here to the fastest I can do. Now, that's one-four thousandth of a second. When you look at this shutter, you will hardly see it move. But it opened and closed and allowed a certain amount of light through onto my sensor or onto my film in this case. But that was only a very small amount of light that it allowed through some pictures likely to be reasonably dark. If I change the shutter speed to 1 100th of a second, it's much slower, but it's still going to be difficult for you to see. It opened and closed again, but it did it in a slower fashion, so it allows more light to come through. So it would have brightened up my photograph. The more light that comes through, the brighter your picture is, it's quite logical. Now I'm going to change the shutter speed down to one quarter of a second. So at one quarter of a second you'll actually see it open and close. Okay. That was open for one quarter of a second. Again, it let more light through and make my picture brighter. Now I'm going to go down to one full second. So 1 second allows me to have that shutter open for a full second. And then it closes again. Now that would be a setting might use at night when it's reasonably dark. Because a 1 second exposure during the daytime, it's just going to let through too much light. So the basic principle of shutter speed is, the slower the shutter speed, the more light gets in, the broader your picture will be. It's very logical. Now, on your digital cameras, you can do exactly the same. You can change your shutter speed whenever you want you. The shutter speed is generally changed by turning your thumb wheel or your finger. We'll only, and that will change your shutter speed. So if you tap your shutter button or hit your info button to get your settings up on the back screen of your camera. Generally the left-hand side one is a fraction of a second. They might be 188 or 12, a 100th of a second or something. That's your shutter speed. As we said before, the slower the shutter speed, the more light gets into your camera, the broader your picture will be. Now I'm going to take a few shots now at various different shutter speeds and show you the results. I'm going to photograph one corner of my studio where I have a window and show you the results of changing that shutter speed. So first of all, I'm going to set my camera at one-four thousandth of a second. Okay, now you can see that image is really dark because my studio is quite dark. There's a little bit of light there from the outside, which is reasonably bright. But it's a very fast shutter speed, so it's not letting very much light into my camera. Now I'm going to change my shutter speed down to 1 100th of a second. And I'm going to take the photograph again. Now you'll see that picture is brighter simply because my shutter has been opened for longer. It's a slower shutter speed and it's letting more light into my picture. Now I'm going to drop it down to a quarter of a second. Now, quarter of a second, maybe on your camera for which means that it is one over four or it could be one quarter of a second just depending on your camera. But generally speaking, shutter speed is just in whole numbers. So four means one over 430 means one over 30. So we're down to a quarter of a second now. And you can hear the shutter open and close the same as we could on the film camera. Okay, so you can see this image is getting brighter each time. The longer shutter speed allows more light in and brightens up my picture. I'm in control of how bright my picture is. Now this picture is going to be a bit too bright because we've got blown out highlights in the, in the window. But it's just to demonstrate how shutter speed affects the brightness of our image. Now I'm going to go down to 1 second. So I'll go right down to 1 second, which is one with two apostrophes. Generally speaking, the two apostrophes main full seconds with your shutter speed. So listen to this and you'll hear it stay open for a whole second. And you can see this picture is way too bright. Now also, that 1 second means that I'm going to be moving around during that time. So I'm gonna get a little bit of camera shake in that image or a lot of camera shake actually. So we need to be careful how slow we go with our shutter speeds and maybe use a tripod for these lower, slower shutter speeds. Now it is possible to go down past 1 second. We can go to 10 seconds, 20 seconds, or 30 seconds. I'm not going to demonstrate that because 30 seconds is a long time and my picture would end up being completely white. But thirty-seconds is a setting we might use at night when it's reasonably dark. If we want to, for instance, photograph the tail lights going up the cartel that's going up the freeway. All we want to photograph a lightning storm. We might put their camera on thirty-seconds, press the shutter, and the shutter stays open for a full, half a minute. Any lightning bolts that happened in that time will be recorded on air image. We can shoot fireworks, it might be five or six seconds. We can shoot a range of different things with those long exposures. Now, that long shutter speed of 10, 20, thirty-seconds to me is where all the exciting stuff is in photography. If you've seen any of there are other videos you'll see. I do a lot with light painting. I do a lot with moving lights, LEDs, things like that with those long exposures at night, because it allows you to be more creative. You can create a lot more content in that time period than you can in that instant when your camera goes off at a thousandth of a second. Now also on your camera, you will have a shutter speed called bulb, that's usually pass thirty-seconds. Some cameras have it on their exposure mode doll or have obesity. But the bulb setting allows you to hold your finger on the shutter as long as you like, and then lift it up to close the shutter so you push your finger down, which opens up the shutter. And Alaska pictured retaken, and then you hold your finger on there as long as you like and then you can take it off. Now this is good for things that you're not sure how long they're going to take to expose correctly. So if you are shooting fireworks, for instance, you might just want three bursts of fireworks in that shot. So you might hold your finger on the shutter, on the bulb setting. And once the fireworks goes off, bom, bom, bom, you can take your finger off. The next time. It might take a little bit longer, but it allows you to do that sort of thing and being controlled with those long exposures. Some cameras also have a time sitting where you can push your finger on the shutter button and it will open the shutter. Then you go away and come back later and push the button again and it will close it. It's a slightly different option. And they both allow you to use longer than 30 seconds exposures as well. In reality, if you're using the bulb setting, I wouldn't be holding my finger on it for ten minutes because you're going to be shaking the camera and you're gonna get a sore finger. So you can get remote shutter releases that will allow you to push one button and your shutter will open. And then you go and have a cup of coffee and come back later and push the other button and your shutter will close. These settings are handy for things like star trials or things that you might want to take a longer exposure than thirty-seconds. So all of those options are there with their digital cameras. They're amazing tools. And we can do so many things with these long exposures or long shutter speeds. 6. Aperture Explained: So we've just learned that by changing our shutter speed, we can make our picture brighter or darker because it allows more or less light onto a sensor. So if we're at photographing dog at the POC, a picture is too dark. We can simply make our shutter speed a bit slower. And that will allow more latIn and brighten up our picture. If we're photographing a dog and the pictures too bright, we can simply make us shutter speed faster. And that will allow less light in and darken down a picture. Now our aperture is another way that we can achieve this result. Aperture means a hole. There is a hole inside your lens that you can make larger or smaller and allow more light in or less light in, which will control your exposure similar to your shutter speed. Now I'll show you this with this old film lens, because it's easier to do then with a digital lens. If you look inside this lens, you can see that I can make that whole smaller or larger. It allows less light in for a small hole and more lighting for a large hall. So this is another way that I can control how bright or dark my picture is. Now the aperture can also be called f-stops. Some people call it F stop. I prefer to call it epitope because it's a more descriptive word. It describes what it actually is. Now your aperture is the value next to your shutter speed. It generally has an F in front of it, which is why a lot of people call it f-stop. You may have an aperture setting of f 5.6. If height f 11, there are various different settings that you can use. Now, the stupid thing or the difficult thing about aperture numbers. And I don't know why they don't change this. It's a silly system and it confuses a lot of people, is that the numbers of back to front, a large hole would be a small number. And a small hole would be a large number. So for instance, a large hole that lets a lot of light through might be called F4 or if 2.8. Whereas the small hole that lets less light through might be if 16 or if 22. So it's a difficult concept to get in your head. Now, I struggled with this when I first started in photography 40 years ago. And it took me quite a while to figure it out. And even 40 years later, I need to think to myself, if I go from F8 to f 11, it's smaller hole, so it's a darker picture. And to me that's a silly system. I did have a young fellow in one of my photography classes recently who came up with a really good system for remembering this. And he said the F is the key with the f-number. He said, Just remember, this is a little bit naughty. It's an IFFT up system. So that means that the numbers of vector front, the numbers are not the way you would expect them to be. So if you remember that, if every time you see that, if just remember that if top system and somebody's the wrong way. So that will help you to remember those if stop or aperture settings. Now, your f-stop does control other things with your image as well. Both shutter speed and aperture have secondary considerations that we'll talk about later on in this class. But for the time being, simply look at them as being able to change your exposure, make your picture brighter or darker. So say for instance, we're taking a photograph of their dog at the park. Your pictures to doc. We could just open up our aperture a little bit to make that picture brighter. If your pictures too bright of your dog at the park, you can simply make your aperture smaller and that will dock in your picture down. So effectively, aperture and shutter speed do the same type of compensation with their exposure. They make our picture either brighter or darker. And you'll see from some of the images that I'm showing you here that we can vary L exposure by either changing our shutter speed or changing out aperture. It's going to give us the same result, pretty much the same result. Now, a lot of people ask, how do I know which one to change? And in reality it doesn't make a lot of difference. There are a couple of reasons why we might choose one or the other, which we'll go into in a little bit lighter in this course. But what we don't want to do is change both at the same time. Because if you do change both at the same time, you might go up with one and down with the other and end up with the same result. Okay, So it just changed either your aperture or your shutter speed. And that's going to achieve the result that you want. Now this practice of changing our aperture and shutter speed on manual does take a little bit of practice. It's not something that you can just get straight away. It takes a bit of practice, but I promise you, if you practice this and get used to using this system, it's going to make you into a much better photographer. And it's going to shortcut your advancement in photography by understanding this principle of manual exposure. Now the way you change your aperture on a digital camera varies, again between cameras. But with a lot of cameras, they will have a dial on the front as well as on the back. And that changes the aperture, the backwards for the shutter speed, the front ones for the aperture. Some cameras have a button on the top or the bottom that you hold in, the top or the back that you hold in. And then you turn your dial and that will move the cursor across to change your aperture. Various different cameras have the aperture control in different ways. So again, you can just check your instruction manual and that will tell you how to change your aperture. But get used to it because it's the setting that you're going to be using quite often. 7. In Practice: Now this system of exposure control is the YUI work. If I was taking a family portrait that on my back lawn today or would go out, have a look at the sky. Decided I'll probably set for 100 ISO because it's a reasonably bright day. And then I would take a picture, have a look at it. Water bit too dark. I might slow down my shutter speed a bit, or open up my aperture a bit. Take another shot year. That's great. It looks terrific. So I will just use those same settings for the whole time. Unless my lighting changes or remove people from the brightness into the shade, I won't have to change those settings because they'll all be consistent the whole time. The important thing is to practice, practice, practice. Spend some time wandering around your neighborhood or your park, and shoot on manual settings. Take a photograph, have a look at it and think, well, that's a little bit too dark. I would like it brighter, so I'll slow down my shutter speed to allow more light to come in. Or I'll make my aperture larger to allow more light to come in. Now one of the key things that is really going to make a difference to your understanding of this is the language that you use in your head. It's going to make a difference if you use logical language to describe these things. So when you're talking about shutter speed to yourself, think about faster or slower, because it's more logical that a fast shutter speed will let less light in, make my picture darker. And a slow shutter speed will let more light in and brighten up my picture. So when you're using shutter speed, think of faster or slower. When you're thinking about aperture, think about larger or smaller. Because a large aperture when you pictured in your mind, lets more light in. A small aperture when you picture it in your mind, lets less light in. Okay, stay away from terms like higher or lower, which a lot of people use. And it gets very confusing because you don't know if they're talking about the size of their aperture or the, um, or the number, the f-number. And when talking about shutter speeds, it could be 1 100th of a second or could be a 100. People get very confused with those things. So think about it in descriptive language so that you can get it in your head and understand it logically. Logic is always the best way to learn things. Okay, so now you have the choice. You can make your picture brighter or darker to suit your purposes. You may want to photograph a sunset. You take a picture and it looks okay. But you might want those colors to be a bit more intense and a bit deeper. You can simply make your picture darker to do that. Or you may prefer that sunset to be brighter and more PESTEL like. You can slow down your shutter speed to make your picture brighter or make your aperture a little bit bigger to make it brighter. You're in control of how your picture is exposed. But you need to practice practices much as you can. Don't just move these settings in the hope that you'll get it right. Have a look at your picture that you've taken. Think, is that too dark? It is. Will a need to let more light into the camera. So I need to make my shutter speed slower or my aperture larger. Now, that's going to make a difference to you as a photographer. Now, some of the cameras we use nowadays or mirrorless cameras. Mirrorless cameras are made slightly differently to our normal SLR cameras. When I take an exposure, I have to look at my screen and see what it looks like to tell how bright or how dark it is. With a mirrorless camera, they have an EVF, electronic viewfinder, which changes as you change your aperture or your shutter speed. So you can simply just change our aperture shutter speed until your picture in your viewfinder looks fine, and then take your photograph. Now there can be a good thing, but it can also be a danger in learning this stuff because you tend not to look at the numbers when you're just moving dials to get your viewfinder looking good. And taking a picture, you can lose sight of the numbers in the principle behind what we're doing. So even if you have a mirrorless camera, think about the numbers. Try not to take notice of your viewfinder. Try to change your shutter speed and your aperture to get your picture exposed correctly. 8. Your Cheat Sheet: Now you might say, how do I know where to start? How do I know what settings to set? Straight away to take my first photograph? I've mentioned to you that 400 ISO is a good starting point. So you could put it at 400 ISO. But I have included in the resources section of this course a cheat sheet that you can print out and lemonade if you want to like this one and keep it in your camera bag. This cheat sheet will give you approximate settings to use in different lighting conditions. So for instance, on one side of the cheat sheet, it would say in bright sunshine, you would use a shutter speed of one 500th of a second and an aperture of f 16, that will get you close. This is just a ballpark figure, but once you get that close, then you can just tweak it up or down, as we've mentioned and as we've shown you to get your exposure the way that you want to. And there are various different lighting conditions here with approximate sittings to use. So that's your starting point. You'll notice at the top of that page, it says at 400 ISO. So if you do change your ISO from 400, the settings won't be relevant, but keep it at 400 for the time being. Tried these as ballpark figure and then vary your exposure up or down on manual settings. You'll be in control and you'll be able to get the result that you're looking for. Now on the back of this sheet, there is another couple of paragraphs that explain exactly what we've been talking about. About how to brighten your picture with your shutter speed or your aperture, or had a dark and your picture with your aperture or your shutter speed. There's another little piece there that says to try and keep your shutter speed above 1 100th of a second. And that relates to the camera shake issue that we've spoken about in some of our other classes. If we drop our shutter speed down too slow, then we sometimes get some shakiness in our picture, which blurs their picture. So if we tried to take a photograph at 1 second, for instance, camera's going to be moving a little bit and we're gonna get a blurry picture. This applies right up to around about 1 100th of a second, depending on the lens that you're using and the situation that you're in. 1 100th of a second is about the cutoff point where most people can hand hold the camera without getting camera shake. So anything above 1 100th, anything faster than 1 100th of a second should be fine. But once you go below or slower than 1 100th of a second, then you need to be careful. Use some sort of camera support, a tripod or a mono pod or something like that. So in that case, if you're on 1 100th of a second and you're photographing your dog in the POC, you need more light. Don't slow your shutter speed down. Make your aperture larger instead. Okay, Use that 1 100th as your bottom range of shutter speeds when you're handholding. If you're in a tripod, that's fine. But if you're handholding 1 100th of a second or even 1 200th of a second, depending on how you are. Maybe the slowest that you can go with that getting that camera shake. Okay, so check out that that resource, that cheat sheet carried in your camera bag. And it will help you out immensely when you're trying this stuff and when you're learning it. 9. Assessing your Results: Now how do you know if you've achieved a correct exposure? As I said earlier, exposure is a personal thing. Some people like images a little bit brought us and people like things a little bit darker. You can look on your screen, which is a huge advantage nowadays with digital photography when we're shooting film, we had no idea if we'd expose their image correctly until we actually saved their images back from the photo. Let nowadays we can look at our screen and see now your screenshot the perfect representation of your image. Because often when you upload it on your computer, it's going to look a little bit different. Some screens are brighter, some are darker. You can actually change the brightness of your screen up or down. So it's not a perfect representation of how bright your images and how well you've exposed your image. But it's a good starting point. It's a, it's at least good enough to say yes, I've nailed that. I'm happy with that. Or Wow, that's way too dark or need to do something about it. There are other screen options that we have display options on all of your cameras that allow us to be a bit more careful and to judge our exposure more truthfully. One is our histogram and the other one is your highlight alert. Now, your cameras all have these functions are not going to go into them in this class. We're going to put together a more advanced exposure class where we explain these a little bit more detail. But your histogram on your highlight alert will tell you the truth. Your screens sometimes can lie to you a little bit, but at least it's gonna give you a good indication if your image looks reasonably good. 10. Secondary Considerations: I mentioned earlier that there are secondary considerations with each of these functions are ISO, aperture and shutter speed. Now these secondary functions can sometimes get people confused. That's why I keep them as a separate section. And you can skip over this part of the course if you want you if you just want to concentrate on getting your exposure correct, that's fine. But there are secondary considerations that a lot of people ask me about. So I think it's reasonably important to put it in here for those people who are curious about it. Now, the primary consideration of our aperture, ISO and shutter speed is to get our exposure correct to make our picture brighter or darker. That's your primary concern and that's the most important concern from my point of view. The secondary considerations are less important, but they do allow you to be a little bit more creative with your photography once you've nailed this exposure situation. Now with our ISO, the secondary consideration that we're looking at is a noise level. Noise is the tiny little grains of color that make up your picture. Noise increases slightly as we go up higher with our ISO. Iso, ISO or maybe a 100 or 200 ISO is the cleanest image with less noise, with the least noise that we have. As we go up higher with their ISO, that noise becomes a little bit more obvious. Now modern cameras are really great with noise. And noise is the sort of thing that says never bothered me in photography. I would much rather use 5 thousand or even 10 thousand ISO to get the shutter need if I'm shooting in dark conditions rather than try and struggle with 100 or 200 just because I don't want people to see the noise in my picture. Look at this picture was taken at a 1000 ISO or regularly shooter to 1000 noise. So and so beautiful picture, I love it. So don't be too hung up on this noise issue, but it's up to you. Some photographers might be horrified that you shoot at 800 ISO because of the huge noise that you're gonna get. Look at it, see what you think, and make up your own mind. The secondary consideration with shutter speed is L, freezing or movement in our image. How photograph can freeze motion or create blur in our photograph. Now, again, is quite logical. If we have a very fast shutter speed, then it's going to freeze the motion in the photograph. So for instance, we have somebody running past and we want to take a photograph of that runner. If we use a fast shutter speed, then we're going to freeze the motion because it's just going to go click and that motion is going to be frozen. If we use a slower shutter speed, maybe a 2.5th, the shadow is going to be open for a longer period of time, so that runner is going to be moving during that time. So we're going to get some blue in that image. So we can create blue or we can create sharp images depending on how fast or how slow shutter speed is. Now this is a creative option for us to play around with later on, but it's a secondary consideration for shutter speed. Now, a secondary consideration for our aperture is depth of field. Depth of field can be thought of as depth of focus as well. It's how far into the image focus extends with their photograph. Now you may have seen photographs, particularly portrait photographs, where the subject is sharp, but the background is very blurry, or the foreground is very blurry. That's what we call a shallow depth of field. So they may only be maybe a 100 millimeters or four inches in that image that's acceptably sharp. The background is really blurry and the foreground is really blurry. That minimal depth of field is created by using a large aperture. Large apertures give you a shallower depth of field. If we're shooting a landscape, for instance, we might want everything from the rocks at our feet right through to the mountains in the background in sharp focus. In that case, we would use a small aperture. The opposite. A small aperture creates a greater depth of field, so it gives us more focus all the way through. Now we need to be careful when we're prioritizing these things. So for instance, if we wanted to take a subject with the background out of focus, we might use a large aperture. But remember how the effect of having a large aperture has on your image. It makes it really bright. So we might have to compensate by using our shutter speed much faster so that our exposure doesn't get far blown out. If we're using a shutter speed that's a bit slower, we might find that our pictures too bright because that shut has been opened for a long period of time. So we might need to compensate by making our aperture smaller. So it's a balance between both aperture and shutter speed. But for the time being, don't worry too much about these secondary considerations. You can approach them later on. Just to start with, consider that primary consideration of getting your exposure correct. 11. Why not use Auto Exposure?: The good news or the bad news is that our cameras can do all of this stuff for us automatically. It's called auto exposure. So cameras can control our aperture, shutter speed, and ISO if we want them to. Now, this may look like a better option to you or a simpler option. And a lot of people use it. But if you want to get better at photography, you need to be able to control these things yourself. Because even though your camera has a quite sophisticated mechanism to control your exposure, it never does as good a job as you do. All computers and all processes and all cameras are not going to give you a perfect result all the time. Some of them do a better result than others. But most of the time you're much better off using those manual settings. And I'm going to explain to you why. Now, on your exposure mode dial up here. Remember we put this two m to start with because we want it to be in control and shoot on manual settings. There are a lot of other settings on this dial. All cameras vary a little bit, but basically the manual setting is for manual settings. All of those other settings are automatic. They just vary with their automatic NAS, which isn't really a word. But you know what I mean? Some of them are more automatic than others. Now, to control the automatic exposure adjustment in your camera, your camera has a light meter. There's a light meter inside your camera. That's quite a sophisticated light meter. And it looks up through your lens at the scene that you're going to photograph. And it assesses how bright that scene is. And then it recommends aperture, shutter speed, and ISO sometimes to your camera, your Canvas, it says sittings and takes the picture. So it's all done automatically. Now, the problem is that when your light meter looks at through the lens, it doesn't see the sky and the trees and the chaos. It just sees a whole lot of colors and tones, averages the map to one. Now, various different cameras with different exposure metering modes will do it slightly differently. But basically, your camera is trying to reproduce what it sees as an average cine. Camera manufacturers and scientists over the years have decided that the average seen that we photograph with a few trees, bit of sky and the cowl averages out to one particular color. And this is it. It's called 18 percent gray. Most cameras are calibrated to this setting. Will all cameras, as far as I know, all cameras since the 1960s on automatic exposure has been calibrated to this sitting. Now as I said, metering systems are slightly different. Some of them buyers particular ways and some of them can counteract particular things. But basically your camera isn't as good as you are. It doesn't see what's in your scene. It just makes a educated guess at what exposure you want. And generally speaking, it's looking for this. So if we're photographing a scene that is average, that does averaged out to this, then your camera on automatic exposure will get it pretty right. If we're photographing is seen as not average a camera, we'll get it wrong. So for instance, as an extreme example, we want to photograph a white cat in the snow. We want a picture of a white kid in the white snow. Now camera on automatic exposure. We'll look at that and say, well, it's way too bright. I need to do this. And it will set settings that will make your picture way too dark. If we're shooting against, if we're shooting a, a dark colored horse against the shaded background, That's quite dark. We want a reasonably dark picture, but because we want those tones to reproduce the Y they are. A camera looks at that and says all it's way too dark. I need to do this. You'll end up with a picture that's way too bright. Now I love shooting towards a son. I shoot towards the sun for just about everything I shoot outdoors. Now, the reason why I love shooting towards a sense, because I mostly shoot people. But even when I shoot landscapes, I love that backlit sort of a look to the shot. When I'm shooting people, I don't want them looking towards the sun, so I put the sunning behind them. So my light meter would look at that. If I had automatic exposure, it would look at that bright sunlight and say that's way too bright. And it would try and do this and it would make my picture way too dark. So these are the reasons why I don't like auto exposure. Plus your settings, your aperture and your shutter speeds and your ISO are going to be moving up and down all over the place. So once you want to use Flash or you want to do high dynamic range, or you wanna do some other of these techniques that rely on consistent exposures, then you're going to be out of the ballpark. You're not going to be able to control things. So shooting on manual exposure is way better, in my opinion to do this sort of stuff. Now, the other reason that auto exposure doesn't work is because my exposures are going to be inconsistent. If I was photographing a girl in a white dress, for instance, my camera, we'll look at that. Look at the white dress and think, well, let photographs reasonably bright. So I'm going to darken it down a little bit. My gills skin tone would be fairly dark. If I have exactly the same girl in a black dress in the same spot, the same light, my camera's going to make it too bright, which to me is unacceptable. I don't want those shots to vary. I want them to be consistent. If I'm shooting manual exposure, I could just look at that skin tone, adjust my exposure and every shot I take no matter what their gills wearing, no matter what vector and she's against, no matter how it's going to be a gonna give me consistent results. So it's going to work so much better for me. It just takes a little bit of practice to get there. Your settings on this exposure mode dial. Every camera is different, as I said, some of them have more or less, but basically there's some settings that you need to know about that, that just so that you can understand what they are. Now, as I said, the M setting stands for manual, where in total control, we set the aperture, the shutter speed, and the ISO. The green sitting is fully automatic. So the green setting the camera will set the aperture, the ISO, and the shutter speed to what it thinks, and just take that photograph. So we're pretty much totally out of control. The setting is a little bit less automatic. Some cameras, depending on what it is, you might be able to set the ISO and the camera will set the aperture and the shutter speed. It varies a little bit between cameras and the other settings, the eye and the S, or TV and AV for canons are semi-automatic sittings. So on TV or S, It stands for shutter priority. The T stands for time. So on shutter priority, you can set your shutter speed and your camera will set the aperture. On IV or eye, that's called aperture priority. You can set the aperture or the f-number, and the camera will set the shutter speed. So supposedly you have partial control. But to my way of thinking, it's still fully automatic because the camera has the last say about how bright your picture is going to be and it still trying to do this. Okay. Even on the semi automatic settings. So again, either I don't know what my aperture is going to be or I don't know what my shutter speed is going to be, so I'm out of control. So again, the best way to do this, the whiter learned a way to get better at photography is simply to control it yourself. 12. Your Light Meter Scale: Your camera's light meter indicator is on the back of your screen, and also in your viewfinder, depending on the camera that you have. Now this is the scale that you can see from 0 in the middle. Two minus one plus one, minus two plus two. It varies between cameras. But supposedly, if the cursor is under the 0 on your light meter scale, then your camera is exposed in correctly. So if your cursor is low down on that scale, you can change your settings, your aperture or your shutter speed, or your ISO to bring it further up so that it's in the middle under the 0. And supposedly that's going to give you the correct exposure. Now, all it's doing when you're doing that is creating an auto exposure by different method. Because you're taking your cameras advice on what exposure you need to set. It may be useful in setting a ballpark figure just to get it close to start with and then switch back to manual and tweak it up or down as we've seen in this class. But if you're going to do it that way, you may as well just use your screen or your histogram, or your high likelihood as I mentioned. So using your light meter scale is not really the way to go. I haven't used my exposure meter scale for the last 30 years. Even when I was shooting film, I didn't use the camera's light meter at all. I used a handheld light, made it back then because when we're shooting film, we don't have the advantage of having a screen or having all the options available to us to give us the correct exposure. So that light meter scale can be handy in some situations, but generally speaking, it's not something that I use very often. Now if you set your camera to auto exposure, then that light made us scale is always going to be set under the 0 because that's what your camera's aiming to do on auto exposure. Once it sets that cursor under the 0, it takes the shot because it's at the value that your camera expect to get the correct exposure, which is not always going to be the case. 13. Your Project: Your project for this class is to practice adjusting your aperture, your shutter speed to get your exposure the way that you want it to be. Now you can show us this by uploading a couple of images. You can upload the first image that you took, which may be a little bit too bright or a bit too dark. Then upload the next one that you took. With a little bit of compensation, you could make your aperture brighter or darker or the shutter speed brighter or darker, and maybe even a third one. If you need to refine it a little bit more. But that allows us to see that you've got this concept and you're able to control your aperture and your shutter speed to get the result that you're looking for. So please have a go at this. Practice is so important with this stuff, and it won't take long before you've got a handle on it and you understand it and you'll have that for the rest of your life. Everything you do in photography now will be easier because you understand these relationships between your aperture and your shutter speed. So post a project, please, so that I can have looked at it. I can give you some feedback about what I think or things that you may have done a little bit better. But if you don't post it, you don't do it. You don't learn. 14. Conclusion: In conclusion, I'd like to say thank you very much for watching this class. It hasn't been an easy class to watch. I know, but it's an important class to watch. And it's an important class to learn from. Understanding how to control your exposure with manual settings is the first step on your journey to advance photography. It's gonna make a huge difference, but it will take a little bit of time. It takes a little bit of practice. Once you've got it in your head, it opens up the possibilities immensely for your future in photography. And to tackle those more advanced techniques that you're always looking at on Pinterest or on YouTube or on Facebook. You'll be able to do this stuff much more easily because you understand the principles of controlling your aperture, your shutter speed, and your ISO. So please get in there and do it. Practice, practice, practice. I'll see you in the next class.