If you are beginning your journey in photography, mastering the basics of the exposure triangle is one of the best places to start. Here is an excellent illustration of how understanding your camera can help you produce better images.
When one of my friends buys their first camera, the initial question they ask is always why their photos are blurry. They don’t understand yet that when shooting in auto, to adjust for the lack of light, the camera is forced to slow down the shutter speed to the point that it is impossible to take a sharp photo without using a tripod. But without any understanding of the exposure triangle, a new photographer would never know this. This is just one reason why it’s essential to break away from auto mode and take control of your camera’s exposure.
Three elements make up the sides of the exposure triangle, and they play a role in every image you take. They are aperture, shutter speed, and ISO. It is referred to as a triangle because of the way they work together. Increasing one side of the triangle means you need to compensate by decreasing another to keep the same exposure. It is all overwhelming at first, but this video from Nemanja Sekulic removes a lot of the confusion. In it, he shows multiple examples of photos at different settings to demonstrate the effect each one has on an image.
Lastly, I want to caution a new photographer about raising your aperture to the maximum amount while learning, especially if you have a fast prime lens that can reach a low number such as f/1.4. While a high aperture generally produces the most attractive background, it makes it more challenging to keep your subject in focus. To get a better understanding of this, as well as the other variables of the exposure triangle, take a look at the video above.
Lead image by Pixabay user jarmoluk, used under Creative Commons.