Lesson 6 – Understand Proper Exposure

James – this is probably one of the most challenging lessons you will learn, but mastering this subject is critical to your photography.  This lesson is about light and making sure you get just the right amount in your photos.  When you press the shutter button, you’re allowing light to pass through the lens to hit the sensor in your camera.  Too much light and your photo will be ‘over’ exposed.  Not enough light and your photo will be ‘under’ exposed.  So how do you get the right amount of light?  There are basically three items that influence the amount of light that makes its way to your camera’s sensor.  They are (1) shutter speed, (2) aperture, and (3) ISO.  Shutter speed is how slow or fast the shutter opens and closes when pressing the shutter button.  Aperture is how wide the hole in your lens and is measured by a series of ‘f-stops’.  And ISO is the sensitivity of your camera’s sensor to light.  My hope is that you learned about how to adjust each of them when you read through your camera’s manual.  So what’s the correct setting for each so that you get a proper exposure?  The answer is – it all depends! – and is dictated by what you want to achieve.  But keep this in mind.  Every time you increase or decrease shutter speed or aperture (f-stop) or ISO by one increment, you’re reducing by half (or doubling) the amount of light you’re letting into the camera.  The adjustment you make for one may cause you to change the setting in another so that you get the right exposure ‘balance’.  One helpful item at your disposal is that your camera has a light meter in the form of a sliding scale.  You’ll see it when you look through the viewfinder.  Aim to get the needle right in the middle of the scale (-0+) and most of the time your photos will be properly exposed.  Think on this lesson and experiment with theses settings.  I know I just threw a lot at you.  Take time to digest all of this.  I’ll be in touch in a few days with another lesson.

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