How to use your camera’s exposure settings.
Choosing the right aperture, shutter speed, and ISO isn’t always easy. Make sure your photos will come out bright and clear with these helpful camera settings.
What is camera exposure?
”Exposure” is how bright or dark a photo comes out. Underexposed shots (not enough light) turn out dark, while overexposure (too much light) makes everything white and washed out.
Three elements impact exposure:
- Shutter speed — How fast the shutter opens. Faster shutter speeds let in less light.
- Aperture — The amount of light let into the lens. A lower aperture (f-stop) means your lens is wider, which lets in more light.
- ISO — Your camera sensor’s sensitivity to light. High ISO means your camera is more sensitive to light, which helps in low-light conditions.
The key to perfect photos is to find the right shutter speed, aperture, and ISO for your specific lighting conditions.
Camera settings to adjust exposure.
While it might seem like quite a task to keep track of all three exposure elements, your camera has a few settings to help you find the right exposure adjustments:
- Auto — Your camera automatically chooses all settings based on the lighting conditions.
- Aperture priority — You choose the aperture, while the camera automatically chooses shutter speed and ISO. This is best for choosing depth of field, usually for portraits.
- Shutter speed priority — You adjust the shutter speed, while the camera automatically chooses the aperture and ISO. This is best for action shots, where you need a fast shutter speed, or for long exposure photography.
- Manual — You choose everything without any automatic adjustments. This is the hardest camera setting to master, but allows the most control over your shots.
Even with the right camera settings, it’s still possible to over- or underexpose your shots. Luckily, you can adjust the camera exposure afterward with photo editing software like Adobe Photoshop Lightroom, which lets you easily make your photo lighter or darker by simply moving a slider.
Want more helpful photography tips?
Explore more about what you can do with Adobe Photoshop Lightroom to find the perfect exposure for your photos.