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Exposure Basics

Original article:  Exposure Basics

Exposure Basics
I remember how daunting the world of photography was when I first started. There were unfamiliar terms, jargon and symbols; and that was just on the camera itself, it was stupefying to asking a photographer for an explanation. The equipment had dials, buttons, numbers and a manual that assumed pre-knowledge. But the basics can - and should - be simple. This article will take a look at the basics of exposure in digital photography.

If you are sitting in a room - assuming daylight outside - the window will control how much light enters. If the curtains are drawn closed allowing only a sliver of light then the room will be darker than if the curtains are wide open allowing the sun to shine in. In the photography world this is aperture or the size of the opening in the lens.
Aperture - size of the opening in the lens.
Shutter Speed - amount of time the aperture is open.
ISO - measures the sensitivity to light.
Lens Speed - the maximum aperture supported by the lens.

Shutter Speed
If you stare out of the window for a few minutes you'll see more than if you took a quick glance. This, in photography parlance, is shutter speed or the amount of time that the camera exposes the sensor.

Some people are more sensitive to light than others. In photography this sensitivity to light is measured in ISO speed. Typical ISO speeds are: 100, 200, 400 and 1000. The larger the number the more sensitive it is to light; in other words ISO 1000 requires less light than ISO 200.

Lens Speed
Keeping with the window analogy, a smaller window will allow less light in than a large floor to ceiling bay window. The size of the window will ultimately dictate the maximum amount of light that can enter the room regardless of the position of the curtains. In photography this is known as the lens speed or the maximum aperture size that a lens can open. This lens speed will be part of the model of the lens: 85mm f/1.8 – 1.8 being the maximum aperture for this 85mm lens.

Aperture, Shutter Speed and ISO all work together to define a photograph’s exposure. Lens Speed simply affects the maximum aperture setting available to the photographer using that particular lens.

In the following articles we will look deeper into each individual subject.

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