Exposure Photography

Exposure in Photography: Everything you need to know


Photography is a very vast subject and no matter how much you learn about it, there is always something more beyond. With time and generation, the art of photography also evolved and has taken new forms along with the modern technology. The equipments used also have been modernized over time.

We live in an era where photography plays a huge role. Everybody is fascinated by the concept of capturing and creating memories. And this rare talent is no more that rare. The equipments have become easily available to every common man. Even through a mobile phone, pictures turn out to be extremely incredible. But if you want to become a professional and turn your passion/hobby into profession, it is highly recommended to have a professional Digital SLR camera with all the setup you need.


For any picture to turn out good, there are certain aspects that a photographer must look at. As told earlier, photography is not just an act of capturing but also creating. There are a lot of new techniques for a photographer to try and explore to make portraits beautiful.

 One such concept to be taken care of is exposure. Exposure in simple terms can be explained as the amount of light that reflects to the camera lens. Adjusting the exposure according to the portrait and frame is an important part to be checked twice.

Chances are that too much or too less exposure can ruin the photo. When the exposure is high, the photo looks way more light and bright than it is supposed to be. It may even erase the natural look of that stunning picture. And not just that, the picture might turn out completely blurred and definitely, no photographer would ever want to face such situation.

On the other hand, if the exposure is too low, the photograph might turn way too dark than expected and it might even be hard to recognize the person or the scenery you tried capturing. There is a high chance for you to even miss out on the major or minor details. No doubt, it surely is a nightmare to any photographer to produce such pictures.


To produce an attention grabbing or a stunning picture, it is highly important to have a balanced exposure.

The exposure triangle is often dependent on environment and surroundings. These 3 elements usually control the exposure and if they are not set properly, they’ll also affect the exposure negatively. Being a photographer, you need to have a closer look on these aspects to make sure your portraits turn out according to the way you envisioned.

And to maintain that exposure, there are 3 major factors that affect this. These three elements are also considered as the exposure triangle popularly.

  1. Aperture
  2. Shutter speed
  3. ISO


Aperture determines the depth of field and frames. It basically controls the amount of light falling on the camera lens. Aperture also controls the sharpness of the camera. The setting of this aperture or also known as f stop popularly, indicates the diameter of lens opening. The concept of aperture is the main point that determines your exposure.


Shutter speed functions in a little contradictory way to aperture. Aperture measures the frame widely and breadth wise, but the shutter speed measures about how long the frame is. A faster shutter speed can capture a picture in a sharp way while the slower one can click pictures in a blurred way. This does affect the photo in a lot of ways. The ND filters can be used to adjust shutter speed. They also help in reducing shutter speed for sometime where the camera can click beautiful portraits even in harsh lighting situations.


ISO is a very popular name heard by almost all photographers. It is the International Standard of Measurement. It measures how sensitive a photographic film emulsion or a digital sensor is to light. Increasing the ISO can bring light to dark and blurred images. It makes them brighter than usual, but increasing it more often makes the picture unclear. There are chances that you might miss out on small detailing in the picture. The ISO can also reduce the quality of your picture if it is frequently increased. But again, it totally depends on the surroundings.


Exposure is also a huge concept to understand and there are different types of exposure affecting the picture in different ways. The exposure should be adjusted in a way where all the pros are covered and the cons are eliminated. Few major types of exposure that lead to main disturbance in photos are mentioned below. Apart from these, there are also other kinds of exposure like radiant exposure, luminous exposure or even the exposure compensation. But the most common aspects to be taken care are:


Over exposure is a term used to a particular situation where the camera’s lens is exposed to too much light. This is a critical phase where the picture turns out to be over bright and loses its major details. This also makes the portrait lose its essence and natural touch.


On contradictory to over exposure, under exposure is where the camera’s lens does not receive enough amount of light and hence the pictures turn out to be very dark and unclear. This also makes you miss out the basic detailing in the picture and may create an awful image.


This is very popular among photographers who work mostly during the nights and in dark rooms. This is a kind of exposure which helps in capturing objects or creatures that are in motion. It is usually set for a particular period of time. This is also called as the slow shutter method of exposure because the shutter doesn’t activate immediately. The major limitations of this kind of exposure are that the pictures can turn out blurry or trails and smears are created in the photograph.


As the name suggests, double exposure is a technique where the camera shutters twice to click multiple shots. This is usually used in places where the subject is not in a constant position. Wildlife photographers usually use this method of exposure to capture such beautiful images. There are few chances where the result of this method may also turn into disappointment. When the camera clicks multiple images, one or two might turn out to be a perfect shot while the others may just become blurry or the detailing might miss out.


Manual or automatic exposure is a mode you set your camera shutter for. In manual exposure, the photographer himself analyzes the best shot and clicks the shutter accordingly. The exposure is adjusted by him before he proceeds to capture. In automatic exposure, the camera is set for a particular time period to click the picture of a moving subject. The camera takes continuous shots adjusting the exposure itself. Out of all the shots clicked, you can select the best fit of your choice.


Here we come towards the end of our article hoping you had a great learning experience. Photography is an art admired by everyone and a photographer is the artist who brings this art close to common people.

A true photographer can see art in everything and can create anything beautiful. If you have chosen this field to explore, it is a choice you will never regret. Following some basic guidelines and understanding few deeper concepts will make your journey smooth.

Exposure is one such concept of photography which determines your photograph to either turn beautiful or awful. Make a wise choice.

Keep in mind the commonest mistakes made due to lack of exposure or due to over exposure, and try to avoid them for better results in near future. That is how you eventually master this art of photography.

It might be very difficult and you might face struggles while understanding each concept on a deeper note but hey, it is all worth your efforts and with time, it will turn out simple. Trust us when we say stunning images create charming memories.

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Jimmy Perez

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