A guide to camera exposure.
Learn how to use camera exposure to make sure your photos are clear and bright.
What is camera exposure?
“Exposure” is the amount of light that hits your camera’s sensor (or film). It determines how bright or dark your photos will come out. Underexposed photos will appear dark, while overexposure makes everything look white and washed out.
The three elements of exposure.
To find the right exposure, you need to balance three different elements on your camera. Together, they’re called the exposure triangle:
- Shutter speed — How fast the shutter opens and closes. Faster shutter speeds allow less light to reach the sensor but can reduce blur in your pictures.
- Aperture — How much light is allowed into the lens. A low aperture (f-stop) means the lens is wider, letting more light into the camera.
- ISO — Your camera’s sensitivity to light. A high ISO means the sensor is more sensitive to light, which lets you take pictures in low light.
Together, these three elements determine the exposure of the shot.
Tips for proper camera exposure.
It’s not always easy to keep track of every element, so here are a few tips to help you find the right camera exposure every time:
- Use different camera settings — Set your camera to different priorities like aperture or shutter speed. That way, you can manually adjust one (or none) of the exposure elements and let the camera handle the rest.
- Read the histogram — Some cameras will show you a visual representation of the image’s tones called a “histogram.” Make sure the graph is balanced, without any gaps or jumps. You can also see histograms in some photo editing programs.
Even with the wrong exposure, you can always edit your photos afterward with editing software like Adobe Photoshop Lightroom. Most photo editors have a simple slider that lets you adjust exposure.
Find more photography tips and tricks to perfect your exposure techniques.
And explore more about what you can do with Adobe Photoshop Lightroom to make sure all your shots are clear and well-exposed.