Navigating the Exposure Triangle

Dorothea Lange once said, “One should really use the camera as though tomorrow you’d be stricken blind.” Photography is one of the things you can do for fun while still making a good living out of it. Nothing in life can be more interesting than helping people make beautiful memories and doing it like a pro. Have you ever been asked to describe the use of a certain part of a camera and all you could do was freeze? I am here to save you from those embarrassing moments and also boost your confidence as a professional photographer. We can discuss the most common photography jargon, and at the end of this article, believe me or not you will be in a position to throw those terms and their definitions around like a boss.
These three terms help in controlling your camera’s exposure. Exposure is simply a measure of how dark or bright your image is. They are often referred to as The Exposure Triangle.

These are: Shutter Speed, Aperture, and ISO.


The shutter is a camera device that opens and closes to allow light to pass through. Shutter speed is the amount of time the camera sensor is exposed to light. It is expressed in seconds or fractions of a second.  Slow shutter speeds translate to longer exposure time. The bigger the denominator the faster the shutter speed for example shutter speed of 1/640 is much faster than that of 1/15. While taking a photo of something in motion e.g. a waterfall you can slow the shutter speed to create motion but everything else stays in focus. Here is a small tip: When using very slow shutter speeds for example 1/30, it’s advisable to use a tripod for stability.


In photography, an aperture is an opening with a lens, through which light travels into the sensor of the camera. The wider the opening, the more the light thus making the subject brighter. The smaller the opening the less the light. Aperture is measured in f-stops or f-number. A small f-stop like f/1.4 is a wide opening while a big f-stop like f/22 is a small opening. Did you notice that? Normally big numbers represent big things but when it comes to aperture it’s the complete opposite, big translates to small and vice versa.  Moving from one f-number to another, halves or doubles the light getting in. The number of f-stops differs from one lens to another. In a nutshell, an aperture is like a window, the more you open the window, the more light gets in and vice versa


ISO (International Standard Organization) is a measure of a camera sensor’s sensitivity which affects the exposure of your photos. The lower the ISO number the less the sensitivity to light and the higher the ISO number the higher the sensitivity. Most cameras have ISO ranging from a low 50 to an extremely sensitive 1600 or higher.  An increase in sensitivity means your camera can capture images in low light without having to use an additional light. However, this comes with a disadvantage in that the image appears to be grainy.

See how simple that was!! Now you’re are moving from taking photographs to making art. You now have full control of how dark or bright your images are… no more Auto-mode!  That’s right!   I want you to be that photographer that other photographers love to hate!!

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