Photography Basics–Exposure Explained

Hello all!  Today we are going to cover a basic photography lesson.  In this post we will discuss exposure!

Exposure in general terms is the measurement of light in a photograph.  If a photo has too much light, or is too bright, we call that over exposed.  If a photo has too little light or too many dark colors, we call that under exposed.  A proper exposure will give you the most detail in your photograph,


Underexposed!      OverExposed-DSC_0255

We can measure exposure with what is called a histogram. A histogram is a is the a graphical representation of the light layout of your photo.  The general definition of a histogram is the graphical representation of the distribution numerical data.  Yikes, that is a scary definition, but it is not really that difficult.  Many cameras have a histogram function built in to help you determine if your exposure is good.


This is an example of a histogram of a well exposed photo because most of the data is in the middle and the rest is spread out across the graph.

Luckily viewing our histogram on the back of our camera is not as complicated as calculating math problems. The left side of the histogram is the is the areas of black in your photo.  The right side of the histogram is the area of lights in your photo.  The middle is the mid-tones of your photo.

In a perfectly exposed photo we want most of the data in the middle area with a small spread at each end.  Although, please understand, you can have a great photo and not get a perfect histogram. Balance is the key! A histogram is just a tool used to help you see where most of your lights are in your photo.  See if your camera has a histogram setting.  If it does, set it to display when it shows your photo.  Practice adjusting your settings and see how it affects your photo.

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