the basics of photography&exposure micah murdock

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Photography Basics

The Basics of Photography&ExposureMicah Murdock

The following slides give examples of the four elements of exposure we are going to be discussing in todays tutorial.

After viewing each group of slides a brief description of the element is given as well as its effect on the photo. After the four examples, we will spend some additional time breaking each element down and discussing them individually.

Finally we will give you a chance to critic several photos of your own.

Here is an example of a well exposed photograph. What are the elements of this photo that you think make is a well exposed photo? Type your answer in box3Identifying the Elements of Correct Exposure

The Effects of Aperture

Although the overall exposure between these two pictures of this gumball machine looks the same, there is one major difference between them The picture on the right has a much larger aperture. This impacts the picture in the following waysWhen the aperture is large that means the opening of the camera is small, therefore it takes a longer time for the same amount of light to correctly expose the image (the larger the aperture the smaller the opening).

The background in the picture on the left is blurry compared to the one on the right. This is referred to as a shallow depth of field. A small aperture (the picture on the left) creates a more shallow depth of field.

In this case the photos both look correctly exposed because I compensated for the larger aperture by slowing down the shutter speed

Aperture: f 5.6

Shutter Speed: 1/16

ISO: 100

White Balance: Auto

Aperture: f 25

Shutter Speed: 1.3 sec

ISO: 100

White Balance: Auto

Identifying the Elements of Correct Exposure

The Effects of Shutter Speed

In this example the picture on the left has the correct shutter speed for a correct exposure, showing all the color and detail of the plant.

With all else remaining constant, the picture on the right has a faster shutter speed. This results in a picture which is under exposed. To compensate for this we could slow down the shutter speed or decrease the aperture.

However, remember if we decreased the aperture, it would also effect our depth of field.

Aperture: f/13

Shutter Speed: 1/40 sec

ISO: 100

White Balance: Auto

Aperture: f/13

Shutter Speed: 1/250 sec

ISO: 100

White Balance: Auto

Identifying the Elements of Correct Exposure

The Effects of ISO

In this example, all things remaining equal, we see that the picture on the right is severely underexposed. However this is not due to either shutter speed or aperture.

The ISO setting on your digital camera determines the sensitivity of your camera to light. In this case you can see the ISO on the picture on the left was set to the maximum while the one on the right is at the minimum.

Adjusting the ISO is easy enough but there can be a price paid in the quality of the picture that we will cover later in the tutorial

Aperture: f 5.0

Shutter Speed: 1/10 sec

ISO: 1600

White Balance: Auto

Aperture: f 5.0

Shutter Speed: 1/10 sec

ISO: 100

White Balance: Auto

Identifying the Elements of Correct ExposureThe Effects of White Balance

The color white can change dramatically depending in large measure by the color of the light illuminating it. Here we see a good example of this variation. In order to compensate for this variation most digital cameras have a white balance setting.

In this case we see a white phone that changes color 4 times as a result of 4 different settings. The only factor that truly changed was the way I told the camera to see the white. Here are the settings for all 4 photos

These pictures were taken in a room lit mostly by natural sunlight so the first picture (auto) and fourth picture (daylight) are the most correctly exposed.

Here are the white balance settings used for each photo

Top left AutoBottom left - TungstenTop right FluorescentBottom Right Natural Light

All other settingsAperture f 5.0Shutter speed 1/12 secISO 400Now that you have been given the specifics on the four elements of exposure lets do some practice.

In the following slides you will be presented a series of photographs with the challenge to either suggest adjustments to the settings that would improve the exposure, or to determine which setting could have been used to create the effect shown.

First read the description of what the photographer was did or was trying to do, then write you answers on the handout provided. Once you have written your answers, you can check them by clicking on the button to view the answers.

Examples and PracticeExample #1

This picture was taken in the middle of the day with plenty of sunshine and gives a good example of a stop motion technique. What exposure settings would you use to replicate this picture and eliminate blurring when the subject is moving quickly?Check AnswerSuggested Answer

With lots of light in the middle of the day the stop action technique is not hard to achieve, just increase your shutter speed to something above 1/250 sec.Adjust the ISO to the lowest possible setting (around 100). This allows the quality of the picture to be as high as possible.Aperture may need to be slightly larger than normal to compensate for the fast shutter speed.White balance can almost always be left on auto when outdoors.Example #2

Jill has a vase of flowers on her nightstand. She wants to take a picture of them before they die so she will never forget the wonderful way in which her husband surprised her. She would love to frame this picture to a 16x20 poster size but is frustrated with her poor exposure. What adjustments could she make to correct the exposure and show all the pretty colors of her flowers?Check AnswerSuggested Answers

Jill could move her vase of flowers to a place where there is more lightShe could slow down the shutter speed to allow the cameras sensor more time to pick up more light however she may need a tripod to ensure she doesnt take a blurry picture She could increase the aperture allowing more light to come through the lenses. This would reduce her depth of field leaving some of the flowers at the back of the vase more out of focus (this may or may not be a desired effect).It would not be a good ideas to increase the ISO as this would reduce the quality of her photo and thwart her plans to enlarge and frame the pictureExample #3

Check AnswerWhile I was hiking I came across this beautiful stream and wanted to capture the flowing water in a way that gave life to the motion of the stream. When I looked at my picture I was thrilled to see while the branches that framed my photo were clear and sharply focused, I was able to show this soft silky effect on the waves of the water. What settings would you use to achieve this? (Hint you will need a tripod).Suggested Answer

Put your ISO on the lowest available setting (normally 100).Aperture should be set high to allow the depth of field to keep both the river and the branches in focus.Slow your shutter speed WAY down. (This is where the tripod comes in). I would recommend taking several shots at 1,5, and 10 sec. Its hard to tell which setting will give you the best results as all streams flow differently. White Balance would remain on AutoExample #4

Check AnswerI was trying to take a stunning picture of this beautiful sunset scene. I wanted to ensure I could see the mountains and the green field but I found that if I exposed the sun correctly the fore ground was too dark but if I exposed the foreground correctly the sun was overexposed. What can I do here?Suggested Answer

This is a very tricky scenario. Because of the problem described above, one thing many photographers will do is make a choice. Which do I want to see more the beautiful red sky or the way it effects the foreground, and then sacrifice one or the other.Another consideration for this picture could have been to wait until the sun was completely behind the mountain. This reduces the chance of overexposing significantly. Last you could adjust your white balance to a cloudy or shady preset (if available). This helps you camera expose the sunlight more accurately