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Exposure: The Soul of Photography

For those learning photography, Camera exposure is like a starting point. Photography is fundamentally based on the principle of light reflection. The amount of light that falls on the objects in front of the camera is what determines the amount of light that reaches the sensor or film in the camera, which then creates the photograph. When there is too much light, the resulting image will be over-exposed and appear very bright or white, and when there is too little light, the image will be under-exposed and appear very dark.

Exposure is what determines the brightness or darkness of a photo. In technical terms, exposure is the amount of light that hits the sensor or film of a camera. Photos with more light are called overexposed, and those with too little light are called underexposed.

pic credit adobe stock

Why is it important to set exposure in photography?

If you’re using a point and shoot camera or a DSLR in auto mode, the camera does all the work for you. This saves you time and allows you to take more pictures. You can pay more attention to framing your shots.

However, oftentimes when you review your pictures later, many of them don’t turn out how you wanted them to. The colors aren’t as vibrant, some of the objects in the photo are overexposed while others are underexposed. This is because camera’s automatic mode is programmed to take a photo using an average light value in the scene.

When we first start using a new camera, we’re usually in a bit of a learning curve. We don’t know much about how to take photos just yet. But as we slowly learn more about it, things start to make sense. We begin to realize that we need to use the manual mode on the camera so that we can control the exposure and get the lighting just right in our photos.

camera exposure

The amount of exposure (or aperture) you’ll need for a photo depends on the light coming into the camera and the sensitivity of the camera’s sensor. Exposure is based on four factors:

  • The aperture of the lens
  • The shutter speed
  • The ISO setting
  • The metering mode

The ‘Exposure Triangle’ is the name given to the combination of Aperture, Shutter Speed, and ISO. The ability to create light and dark areas in a photo depends largely on this ‘Exposure Triangle’. So, learning to control the ‘Exposure Triangle’ is one of the most important skills for any photographer. You can set these yourself in your camera.

There are many DSLR cameras on the market that come with both an auto and manual mode. With manual mode, you can set the exposure according to your needs. But if you’re only considering a point and shoot camera, we advise you to slightly increase your budget and get a point and shoot camera that also has a manual mode so that should the need for exposure arise, it’s possible for you to give your photos the exposure they deserve.


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