Understand Exposure Triangle – Aperture, Shutter Speed, ISO – What Photography Gear

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Exposure triangle light is the essence of photography. Without it, or in its absence, it can be almost impossible to take a good picture. To understand how a camera works, one of the most important principles is the relationship between aperture, shutter speed and ISO sensitivity. It is called an exposure triangle and it is one of the first things you have to master to become a good photographer. Each aspect is nuanced and affects both the exposure of the photo and the other two aspects of the triangle. We will look at what exposure is and the basic principles of how aperture, shutter speed and ISO sensitivity work together.

What is the exhibition?

In order to fully understand the exhibition triangle, we first need to know exactly what the exhibition is. Essentially, the exposure refers to the amount of light that passes through the lens onto the camera’s sensor. It is a measure of the brightness or darkness of a photo. Proper exposure of the image can be a challenge; if the sensor receives too much light, the image will be overexposed. On the other hand, if the input is too small, it will be underdeveloped. Finding the right balance depends on many factors, and the trinity of aperture, shutter speed and ISO sensitivity plays a major role.

You hear him call it measuring impact in terms of judgments. To make an underexposed image brighter, increase the exposure with one or two stops and reduce the overexposed image by the same amount.

Exposure histogram

A useful feature of digital cameras is the histogram. You may need to consult a reference book on how to activate it, but it can save you a lot of headaches in the long run. You can use a histogram to get a reasonably accurate estimate of the exposure of the picture. If you read from left to right, you can see the distribution of image tones, from shadows to midtones and highlights.

Data in the graph that is too far to the left means that the dark areas are cut off from the image. This means that it is too dark, there is no detail in the shadows and the image quality is lost. The reverse effect (when the data is too far to the right) means that the same is true for lighter areas that have burned out or are too bright. A small amount of either is not a big problem and can create interesting effects, but pay attention to your histogram when filming.

Over- and underexposed

The use of the terms underexposed and overexposed can give the impression of ideal exposure. Unfortunately this is not the case and can be very subjective and situational. If the sensor still does not receive enough light, the dark areas will be darker and the image will be underexposed. Even if there is too much light, the data in the marked areas cannot be read and the picture is overexposed. Unfortunately, there is no way to combat this loss or lack of data after the recording, not even during post-processing. It is therefore important to find the right balance between the two and get the right exposure.

Understanding Aperture, Shutter Speed and ISO

Now that we have learned a bit more about exposure, it is time to focus on the exposure triangle – aperture, shutter speed and ISO.


The aperture indicates the width of the aperture. The more it opens, the more light falls through the lens and onto the sensor. The aperture of the lens is measured in f-stops. The lower the number, the larger the aperture and the more light enters. For example, f/5.6 is wider than f/16, but not as wide as f/3.5.

A larger aperture (larger aperture and smaller number) means you can capture more of the scene in low light. However, this also creates a shallow depth of field, resulting in a blurry background. For landscape photography it is advantageous to use a narrow aperture (smaller aperture and larger number). This creates a greater depth of field, allowing more of the scene to come into focus.

In general: The larger the maximum aperture of a lens, the more expensive it is. Lenses are also usually sharper at f/5.6 or f/8. However, if you use a larger aperture of f/1.8 or f/2, you can isolate your subject and create a striking portrait.


Shutter speed As the name suggests, shutter speed means the speed at which the shutter opens and closes. The faster the shutter speed, the less time the light needs to reach the sensor. This leads to a less encouraging end result. A slower shutter speed means that the shutter stays open longer, allowing the sensor to capture more light.  This will increase exposure.

As the name suggests, shutter speed refers to the speed at which the shutter opens and closes. The faster the shutter speed, the less time the light needs to reach the sensor. This leads to a less encouraging end result. A slower shutter speed means that the shutter stays open longer, allowing the sensor to capture more light.  This will increase exposure.


ISO measures the light sensitivity of your camera’s sensor. The higher the number, the more sensitive the sensor. In general, this number can vary from 50 to 100 to 16,000 or more. By increasing the ISO sensitivity and thus the sensor sensitivity, you can use longer shutter speeds in low light conditions. However, this increase in sensitivity has a price. The higher the ISO sensitivity, the more digital noise in the image. This noise makes your photos grainy and becomes more noticeable the higher the ISO used. Although modern digital cameras can control this noise much better than before, it will still have some impact on your images.

To get the best picture in a given exposure situation, you need to adjust the balance between ISO sensitivity, shutter speed and aperture.

EV and stops

The combination of the three elements we have examined so far – aperture, shutter speed and ISO – is called the exposure value or EV. When measuring EVs, doubling or halving the amount of light entering the sensor (or the light sensitivity of the sensor) is called the aperture. They are measured as follows:

  • ISO : When the ISO value is doubled or divided by two, it increases or decreases by one step. This means that the transition from ISO 200 to ISO 400 is an increase of one step. The transition from ISO 200 to 100 is a reduction of one f-stop.
  • Shutter speed : This works in the same way as ISO in the sense that a numerical doubling or halving is a one level change. The change from 1/30 second to 1/120 second is therefore a reduction of two membranes.
  • Opening: Measuring the aperture is a bit more complicated because it is not a half or double digit. Instead, for reasons we don’t need now, they follow a certain pattern. For example, in the following order, each opening represents a reduction of one stop: f/1.4, f/2, f/2.8, f/4, f/5.6, f/8, f/11, f/16, f/22. You will quickly get used to this order after getting used to operating the camera and changing the aperture values,

Understanding how exposure levels affect the final images is one of the most important prerequisites for becoming a good photographer. Although it may seem intimidating at first, the best way to capture the different variables is to take lots of pictures. Leave the topic unchanged and change the different settings to get an idea of how each parameter changes its appearance. Please note that most digital cameras store metadata for each image file. This means that you can see the specific settings that have been used when you have the ability to view them on the big screen.

Basics of photography #3 : Understanding the exposure triangle – aperture, shutter speed, ISO

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