Exposure Exercise


To understand how exposure is affected by aperture, shutter speed, and ISO, see camera exposure [new window]

Read the part of your camera manual on exposure (Some compact cameras may have none of these – but don’t worry!)

  • Check if you have got both automatic and manual exposure control.
  • Check any different metering settings ( eg; evaluative/spot) – these determine the area of your photograph that the camera will take into account when setting its’ exposure.
  • Have you got Full Auto (green) and Program (P) settings?
  • Have you got shutter priority (Tv) or (S) and aperture priority (Av) or (A)?
  • Read about ISO settings (sensitivity of the camera sensor) – these help take better pictures in poor light settings
  • Establish how to adjust the camera aperture settings (f numbers). Small f numbers allow more light into the lens and bigger f numbers less light (this is important when using aperture priority) settings
  • Establish how to change the shutter speed of your camera, this determines the amount of time for which a photograph will be exposed. Note; when using aperture priority you set the aperture and the camera will auto-select the shutter speed and vice versa when using shutter priority.
  • Some cameras have a fully manual setting enabling the photographer to select any combination of shutter speed and aperture they wish
  • Your camera may have ‘exposure compensation’ (+/- ve) – this is very useful to make slight exposure adjustments.

Exercise *

  • Take several photos with a range of exposure settings.
  • Take several photos with a range of ISO settings.
  • Try experimenting with exposure compensation (+/- ve)
  • Try using spot meterings and evaluative (wide area) metering
  • Compare the images (view on PC) for sharpness, depth of field and digital noise. How can you use this knowledge to take better pictures?

*Write down your choices so you know which images correspond to each setting. Where (view on PC) is shown this part may have to be completed later.