So you’re ready to shoot in manual? I’m so excited for you because it’s going to change your photos tremendously. I was taught in the simplest way that it finally made sense so I’d like to share this with you! This set of blogs is going to be in series to try to break it down for you in the simplest way possible.

LESSON 1 The exposure Triangle


Exposure is how much light you expose your camera sensor to. If you let in too much light then your image will be overexposed, (too bright) if you don’t let in enough light then your picture will be underexposed (too Dark) but let me give you some examples:

The sensor of your camera is sitting in the dark until you expose it to light. so for a specific scene how much light do you need to capture it perfectly?

Imagine that you are outside on a bright sunny day and you want to take a picture of a flower that you saw when you were walking by.. How much of that sunny light do you need to capture the flower?

Not very much at all. A TINY little burst. if you let too much in the flower will be overexposed.

So on the other side let’s say we are outside at night and the moon is shining. There isn’t much light and you want to photograph a lake that you see with the moon shining on it. How much of that light do you think you will need??

yes.. A LOT of it. If you do not let enough of it in, the picture will be too dark.

Here are some examples for you


Underexposed f/16 1/125 iso 800



Good exposure

Good exposure f/5.6 1/125 iso 800




Over Exposed

Over Exposed f/3.5 1/125 iso 800







So now that we know that we have to let in the light to expose your photo, how do we do it?

You control the amount of light that enters your camera by using your Aperture and Shutter speed.

Aperture: This is the opening in your lens that allows the light to pass through to hit the sensor. It opens to different sizes.

Source: Pixabay

Source: Pixabay

Let’s use an analogy…. So imagine that you’re home and you have a window with a black curtain on it. You want to open it to let in some light, but how much light you let in depends on how wide you open the curtain. So if you just want to let a little bit of light in, you just open the curtain a little bit if you want to let a lot of light in, you open the curtain wider and let more light in

Shutter Speed: This is how long you leave that lens open before it shuts again.

Back to that curtain.. we know the curtain is the aperture and how wide we open it is how much light we let in, now the shutter speed is how LONG we decide to leave the curtain open, so if we need to let in a tiny bit of light we open and close the curtain really fast, if we need to let in a lot of light we open it and leave it open for a few seconds.

NOW… If you have your aperture set to what you want… and you adjust your shutter speed to what you decide is the fastest or slowest it can go for that situation.. and you STILL don’t have enough light coming in.. this is when you adjust your ISO

ISO: This is the sensitivity to light that is coming into your camera

This is basically getting more out of the light that you let in and getting the most out of the light.

so back in the room, the curtain is wide open, you have on your reflector glasses (the ones that turn dark in the light and regular in the shade) so now your glasses adjust to the light and you don’t have to struggle to see, now let’s say that the sun goes behind the it becomes darker and you’re eyes are struggling to see.. now your glasses adjust so that you don’t have to struggle so hard to see through the dark .

Okay, so that is the exposure triangle. Now I will go into further detail about each one in other lessons.

Lesson 2: Aperture



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