Intro to Photography for Crafters: How the Exposure Triangle Works

In my last post on Intro to Photography for Crafters, I explained what the Exposure Triangle is and why it is important.  Today, I will explain how the Exposure Triangle works and how to use it to take better images of your crafts or products.  

The correct exposure of an image is achieved by mixing and matching the ISO and Shutter Speed on your camera, and the Aperture of your lens. (Note:  You also change the setting for your aperture on your camera but the lens itself determines the “f” stop the lens is capable of achieving.]   Each “ingredient” needs to be in proportion to the other “ingredients” in order for you to achieve the right exposure for your image.  Below is an example of a change in all three settings to determine the correct exposure.  

Photo exposure Example-1.jpg

The first image is a good example of how the camera settings mixed together did not work.  There is not enough light hitting the image sensor causing the image to be too dark and grainy.  My settings for this image are below:

Screen Shot 2017-12-12 at 11.27.57 AM.png

I could have made this a better image by either adjusting the ISO, or the Aperture. In this case, because my aperture was pretty open, I could have easily chosen a different ISO, such as 3200, as this day was a dark day and I did not have much light.  

Photo exposure Example-3.jpg

The second image has a better mixture of the “ingredients” and shows the true colors as well as the amount of available light at the time the image was taken (which was in the early afternoon). The reason this image works is that there is enough light in the shadows and in the bright areas of the image. The mixture of ingredients worked much better.  

Correct Exposure Example2.png

As you can see from my camera settings, while there is a lot less light in terms of the amount of ISO, and my aperture is a smaller aperture, the image worked because there was in general more light available to me at the time the image was taken. In addition to the available light, the background I used for this image was lighter than the grey in the first image and the way the light fell helped the image turn out brighter.  

The goal is to achieve the right mixture to show the most pleasing and true image to the eye.  This mixture is created by finding the right amount of light available to you at your location as well as using the camera settings, the exposure triangle, to get the right exposure.