Sunday, June 06, 2010


I'm much better looking in person. So much for the funhouse mirror.

On Thursday night, I taught Session One of my six-week Seriously Fun Photography course. We covered the basics on the three elements that make up photographic exposure, then touched on ways we can use these elements to control the look of our images.

Here are my notes from the session:


The f/stops to memorize are:

f/1.4 - f/2 - f/2.8 - f/4 - f/5.6 - f/8 - f/11 - f/16 - f/22
If you forget these, make two columns, and at the top of the left one write 1.4 and at the top of the right one write 2.0. Now double each number as you go down the column (rounding off when needed).

Changing one stop lets in twice as much light (or half as much, depending on which direction you go. f/2 lets in a lot of light, f/22 lets in very little light. If you take a picture using f/8 and it seems a little too dark, switch to f/5.6. If you take a picture using f/8 and it is too bright, switch to f/11.

Shutter Speed:

The common shutter speeds:
1/1000th of a second
1 second.
Notice that the relationship of these shutter speed settings is also doubling (or halving) the amount of light that hits your sensor.

This is the ISO "speed" of a digital sensor or of film. ISO 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600 and 3200 are available on many cameras (but not all), and you should take some test shots with yours to find out if the higher ISO settings are usable or not. Figure out the fastest ISO speed you find produces acceptable shots on your camera -- you'll need to switch to it sooner or later. Notice that each ISO speed is twice as sensitive (or half as sensitive) as the next.

P = Program
A = Aperture Priority
S = Shutter Priority
M = Manual
We also addressed confirming exposure by viewing the Histogram.

Above: an iPhone snapshot taken in a subway mirror.

No comments: