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Learn To Use Exposure Settings For Creative Shots

Online Photography School

Learn To Use Exposure Settings For Creative Shots

Here at Online Photography School we will tell you about learning to use exposure settings in your DSLR for taking creative shots.

Before pressing the shutter on your camera, many choices are made regarding exposure i.e. aperture, shutter speed, and ISO setting.

In theory there are various technically correct exposure settings, but is it the best creative exposure? Have you thought of the validity of your subject before setting the aperture, shutter speed, and ISO? If not then you haven’t been taking creative photos.

Mathematically there are many correct ways of choosing exposure settings. For instance, lets say your camera’s meter reading is telling you that a particular scene has a correct exposure of aperture f4 and 1/100 shutter speed. Lets assume ISO is set to 200 (unless auto ISO is enabled on your camera, ISO is always set by the photographer). Not only is f4 and 1/100 one way of getting a correct exposure, so is f5.6 and 1/50, and f8 and 1/25, f11 and 1/13, f16 and 6, and finally f22 and 1/3. Whenever the aperture “stops down”(increases in number), the shutter speed gets longer (the fraction becomes a larger whole number). Knowing that there are many different ways to get a correct exposure is the key to understanding how to take creative photos.

Lets take an example that you are in a meadow of flowers. We will discuss two different types of photos and the creative settings to use. The intention of the first photo is to single out one red rose and blur the background. The camera meter is telling you that at f4, the correct shutter speed to use is 1/200. Like discussed, you could use any combination of aperture and shutter that gives a correct exposure, but for this exercise we want to think creatively and produce a photo based on our intention..

Since our goal is to creatively blur the background, we want to choose a low aperture.By selecting any aperture between f2.8 – f5.6, generally speaking we should be able to blur the background. To simplify, lets choose f2.8. By selecting f2.8 the correct shutter to use is 1/400. By using the combination of f2.8 and 1/400, not only did we get a correct exposure but we achieved our creative insight by blurring the background, yet keeping the single rose in focus

Our second example uses a large depth of field. The intention for the second photo is to include the red rose in the foreground as well as the mountain in the background. For this photo we want everything sharply in focus. The camera meter reading is f4 and 1/200. Although the exposure is mathematically correct, this will not achieve our creative goal. At f4, the entire background will be blurry.

“Cotton grass in Landmannalaugar” captured by Ævar Guðmundsson

Therefore, by thinking creatively we know we need to achieve depth of field. We know we need to stop down our camera to an aperture around f16 – f22. To simplify, lets choose f22. At f22 our shutter speed increases to 1/6. The combination of aperture f22 and shutter speed 1/6 produced a correct exposure and also achieved our creative goals.

Here at Online Photography School we see that photography is not about creating technically perfect photographs. Technically perfect photographs can be very mundane and are usually boring. By utilizing creativity, we can achieve technically correct photos, and at the same time produce stunning, compelling pictures with our creative vision.

Visit our Online Photography School Again for better understanding of photography. You will again fall in love with what you love doing.

2 Responses
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