Photography Basics: The Exposure Triangle

The exposure triangle explains the three major factors of exposure. The three major factors of exposure are ISO, aperture, and shutter speed.   If you are not familiar with each one of these, you can read more about each one of them under tutorials or you can use the search bar to the right and look each one of them up.  Go ahead and go read about them if you need to, we will still be here when you get back.  Notice how we associated with the three major factors what they are associated with.  ISO = Noise, Aperture = Depth of Field, and Shutter Speed = Blur.


The Exposure Triangle

The Exposure Triangle

You can see from the picture the three camera settings that make up the exposure triangle.  These are the settings that will determine how well your picture turns out.  Changing one setting will affect one of the others. It takes a nice balance of all of these settings to get a nice picture or what photo nerds call an exposure.  The biggest thing to remember about the exposure triangle is the balance.  When you change one of these settings, it directly affects your exposure and you will have to change one of the other settings to make up for it.

Let’s take for example, shutter speed.  Let’s assume that you are shooting a football game.  It is starting to get a little dark outside and the shots you are taking with your camera on auto mode are starting to turn out a little blurry.  It turns out your shutter speed and possibly ISO is too low and not “freezing he action” like it should. You are going to have to make some shutter speed  and ISO adjustments.  Depending on your camera, you could just bump up your ISO setting, but you risk adding too much noise (purple dots) to your picture.  By the way, the ISO setting is just like adjusting your aperture or opening up your lens more. It makes your camera’s sensor more sensitive to the light.

Since you don’t want to risk getting too much noise in your picture, you will slightly bump up your ISO and make your shutter speed just fast enough to “freeze the action”…  Problem solved.


There are literally several situations you could be faced with in different situations.  That is why it is food to get your camera off auto mode and learn how to change the settings for the best optimal picture.  It can take your photography to the next level.  It may seem daunting at first, but once you start playing around with it, you will get the hang of it in no time!


What is your biggest photography problem?  Please leave it in the comments below. Need more help or more confidence?  Why don’t you go over here and download our free eBook?  We go over some the basic introductory things you will need to know to shoot DIY senior pictures.  It is free!  What have you got to lose?

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