Monday, July 10, 2017

Photography tips 101: Exposure (Basics of Photography)

Hello welcome to my tips 101, today i'm gonna talk about exposure, the basic of photography, when you take a photograph basically the old skool way says you are taking an exposure.... (bahaha i read that somewhere or i just created it).....
Anyway, this is more of a guide to newbies than photography tips actually, but tips and guides are similar i guess....

So the basics of photography is exposure. What is exposure? in photography terms exposure is the combination of 3 things.

a) Shutter
b) Aperture
c) ISO

With these 3 you basically create an exposure,which means you are taking a photo. Whether you use your iphones to take a picture, a compact point and shoot or a frikkin DSLR or even a film camera, these 3 things are always in play.

Exposure is also the gathering of light. These 3 things are used to how much light is gathered...How much light reach the sensor of your camera or film back in the day. These light gathering will affect the brightness and quality of your photos. Do i make it sound complicated? Well just get this:-

Exposure = Shutter, Aperture and ISO.

Each settings will affect the brightness or dim of your photos. I explain more below.

So lets explore each... im not gonna go in depth. just a basic in my own words/understanding.

Lets start with Shutter.

a) Shutter = speed = is how many seconds it takes to create an exposure. You will always encounter the terms faster shutter speed (eg. 1/1000s) and slower shutter speed (eg. 10 seconds or 10").

One of the reasons to use a Faster shutter speed is to freeze motion. You want to take a SHARP photo of a skateboarder jump mid air?? Use faster shutter speed.

This is at 1/640s shutter speed

But using a fast shutter speed also means less light reaching your camera sensor which can results in dim photos. BUT BUT BUT you can play around with aperture and ISO settings to bring back the light which means to brighten back your photo. which i come back to that later.*

One of the reasons to use a Slower shutter speed is to create motion blur. Why motion blur? Sometimes you wanted to show that the subject is moving rather than static. It also look better with motion blur than a static subject but that is based on your subject or preferences . Subject such as water flow, a cyclist.

This is shot at 1/4s. This is not a good photo but its the only one i have in collection. but just an example to create a sense of motion

Using slower shutter speed also lets you gather more light which is the technique to shoot night photography or astrophotography. Slower shutter speed also = long exposure. When you heard the term longer exposure it just meant they use slower shutter speed.

This is a 15 second shutter speed. A tripod is much needed.

So slow shutter speed is better right? More light gathered?? BUT BUT BUT you will encounter camera shake problem. Camera shake means your photos will come out blur, not sharp. Anything slower than 1/60 second can cause camera shake... when i say slower it means eg. 1/40, 1/15, 1/8 and so on.... unless you have sturdy hands and a good technique you can achieve SHARP picture with 1/30 but lets just stick with 1/60 is your limit. So a tripod is needed for sturdy non shake camera. But there is also image stabilization but lets not get ahead of ourselves. lets not get into that.

On most cameras like Sony and Olympus, Shutter mode is represent with the letter S on the camera. On Canon i believe it is Tv. On Fuji, they shown the speed itself to indicate Shutter mode.

Next is Aperture

b) Aperture is how wide or narrow the opening or hole on the camera lens to gather light. The term is usually f-stops. Aperture is a always a lens feature, nothing to do with camera body. So when they say Aperture it means your lens.

So a wide opening/hole means more and better light gathering. Wide Aperture. A lens with the ability to open wide is called a FAST LENS. Wide aperture means wide opening/hole. So aperture such as f1.2, f1.4, f1.8, f2 these are known as fast lens/wide aperture. Aperture such as f3.5, f5.6 these are known as SLOW lens, narrow opening/hole, narrow aperture.

So when to use a wide aperture? When you need bokeh!
Bokeh is defined as “the effect of a soft out-of-focus background that you get when shooting a subject, using a fast lens, at the widest aperture, such as f/2.8 or wider.” - i got this definition from nikonusa.

This is shot with Sony's 55mm at f1.8. Check out the background and foreground bokeh. OOOoooohhh Yummeh!

So the most common fast lens of any camera brand is f1.8. With Fuji it is f2.

Fast lens is also used when you shoot low light such as indoors, or maybe at night. Because fast lens gathers more light. With a fast lens, you can use a faster shutter speed and a lower ISO value. Why fast shutter speed? Because you dont want blurred photos, why lower ISO? Because you want the least noise in your photo which i come back to that later.**

So when to use NARROW aperture? Narrow aperture such as f8, f11, f16 are usually used when shooting landscapes or a group photo where you want the whole picture to be sharp. When i say the whole photo it means the foreground and background is sharp. But distance between subject also takes into consideration but thats for another story.

This is taken at f9.5. basically overall picture is sharp.

So this is good right? BUT BUT BUT with a narrow aperture, less light is gathered which means it can lead to the camera using a slower shutter and a higher ISO!! These are especially true if shooting in low light (eg. indoors and night time). In broad daylight no problems! Plenty of light!

Slower shutter = camera shake = blur.
High ISO = noise.

On most camera, the Aperture mode is the letter A. on Canon i believe it is Av. On Fuji, they shown the aperture value on the lens itself.

Next is ISO

c) Basically with ISO, this guy will affect how bright or dim your photos. BUT BUT BUT the thing with ISO is, the higher value they are the noisier your photos will be. When i say NOISIER, its the grain in your pictures. With digital cameras the noise/grain is ugly. it also smudges your picture, less details.
So the best image quality is to use lowest ISO value possible. On most camera it is ISO100. on Fuji it is ISO200. With high ISOs such as ISO3200, ISO6400, your picture will definitely show noise/grain and also less details. But with nowadays modern digital cameras, ISO3200 up to ISO6400 is acceptable. The noise is what they say similar to Film grain. So its up to you whether you like the grain or not. but for me, yes, ISO6400 is acceptable. For instagram or web, ISO6400 is more than acceptable.

So low ISO is the best right? Definitely!!! when you have plenty of light, BUT BUT BUT when the light start to goes dim, when you're indoors or nightfalls, your camera will struggle to keep its low ISO value, while it can, it will start to use slower shutter speed and its widest aperture. With slower shutter speed = camera shake = blur. If you happen to have a slow lens which is basically what comes with your camera (kit lens), less light will be gathered, so that means higher ISOs and slower shutter speed to gather more light to get the optimum exposure.

So when to use HIGH ISO? when you're indoors or low light, and you need a fast shutter speed (at least to avoid shake). thats about 1/60s

This is ISO25600. This is extreme high ISO. Your photos will look like shit! noisy/grainy. But i shot this handheld and the milkyway is visible! HANDHELD!!

This is at ISO6400. When light goes dim and you need to shoot handheld. Shutter speed here is 1/30. Aperture wide open at f2. See ISO6400 is acceptable.

On Fuji cameras, ISO is a dial and on most cameras they are in the menu or at one of the camera dials.

i hope i have covered the 3 aspects of exposure wisely. haha

So if you have read all the way up to this, basically EXPOSURE has got to do with the amount of light. if you're shooting in broad daylight with plenty of light, this is the best image quality out of a camera you can get. with lowest ISO, the picture will come out squeaky clean. no noise no grains.

When the light starts to get DIM, this is when your pictures will start to get noisy/more grain.

So lemme conclude the 3 aspects of EXPOSURE which are the SHUTTER, APERTURE and ISO.
So basically these 3 affects each other when taking a photo.

*When you want to use a fast shutter speed and the overall photos are dim, you can adjust your aperture to its widest setting such as f1.8 and use a higher ISOs such a ISO1600 and above to gather more light to bring back the brightness.

** Low ISO = less noise, less grain, more details, no smudging.
     High ISO = more noise, more grain, less details, smudging.

Here's a tip or guide on exposure:-

IN Broad daylight,

when shooting landscapes, travel or street, when you want sharp pictures all over, use a narrow aperture such as f8, a fast shutter speed such as 1/60 onwards eg 1/100, 1/200 to freeze motion and the lowest ISO such as ISO100 to get squeaky clean image.

Fast shutter speed = freeze motion = no motion blur = less light
Slow shutter speed = motion blur = camera shake = tripod = night photography = astrophotography = more light
low iso = less noise
high iso = more noise
wide aperture = fast lens = bokeh = more light = can use fast shutter and lower iso
narrow aperture = landscapes = sharper foreground and background = less light

all photos by me. Hope you enjoy this post and learn something from it. If else (fail)

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