While most cameras today do a fairly decent job of properly exposing the scene at hand, they don’t get it right all the time.
This is especially true when it comes to landscape photography, where quickly changing lighting conditions — and compositions that include both dark and light areas can often result in images that are too light or dark — or, where part of the scene is underexposed while the sky is blown out.
In tricky lighting situations, it’s easy for your camera’s light meter to get confused resulting in an over or underexposed image. In other cases, where you may want to intentionally overexpose to draw out certain details, or underexpose to create a certain mood, leaving the settings up to your camera isn’t a good way to get the results that you’re after.
No matter what type of images you’re going for, or what effect you’re looking to create, having a clear understanding of exposure and knowing how to adjust your camera’s settings can help you to get the results that you’re after, each and every time.
With this in mind, let’s take a look at how you can adjust your exposures for different situations, and make use of tools that can help you to capture those excellent shots.
Understanding the Exposure Triangle
First, let’s take a look at exposure itself. Exposure is based on three main components: aperture, shutter speed, and ISO. Each of these variables works together to allow light to reach the camera’s sensor; influencing the resulting image. Understanding these three components will give you to better control your images’ exposure.
- Aperture: Aperture is the size of the opening that allows the light in to hit the sensor.
- Shutter Speed: Shutter speed is the length of time that light is allowed through the aperture for.
- ISO: ISO is the camera’s sensitivity to the light. The higher the ISO, the higher the camera’s sensitivity.
All three of these components work together to create what’s known as the exposure triangle. When you adjust one, you must adjust another in order compensate.