What Is The Exposure Triangle in Photography?

Trying to become a successful photographer by taking precise, perfect exposure and high-quality photographs?

Every photographer entering the field comes with the same dream, but only a few succeed. Why? Because they understand the magic pillars of photography, “EXPOSURE TRIANGLE”.

Do you know what is the exposure triangle in photography? 

In case you don’t, this article will explain the exposure triangle, the basic parts of the exposure triangle, and more…..

So let’s get into the details to learn more

 What Is The Exposure Triangle In Photography?

Exposure means the amount of light that falls per unit area by reaching the image sensor. The exposure triangle is the collective term for ISO, aperture, and shutter speed. The combined effect of ISO, shutter speed and aperture determine how much light will fall on the image sensor while capturing a photo.

When we add a one-stop increase in aperture, like jumping from F16 to F11, the light will increase. While decreasing one-stop backward will reduce the light in the camera.

We can understand these values through the example chart below. Moving from left to right there will be an increase in light with each stop and vice versa.Exposure triangle table

Aperture F22 F16 F11 F8 F5.6
Shutter Speed 1/1000 1/500 1/250 1/125 1/60
ISO 50 100 200 400 800

Note: The chart contains example values for explaining the exposure values. You can change the values as required.

What Are The 3 Basic Parts Of The Exposure Triangle?

The three essential parts of the exposure triangle are as follows:

01: ISO In Photography

The camera’s sensitivity to light can simply be understood as ISO in photography. Higher values of ISO predict higher sensitivity for your camera sensor, giving the photographs a better and brighter look. Yet if you already have enough light in your surroundings, keeping the ISO values to moderate level would be better, or else your pictures will lose details, adding too much unnecessary brightness.

ISO values are described in numbers like 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600, and 3200. The higher the number, the more will be the value of ISO. Different cameras offer different ISO values depending on their proficiency. Some cameras offer ISO values from 100 to 800, while others offer higher values of more than 25600.

02: Aperture

The opening of the camera lens means the aperture. It’s obvious that the more opening will allow more light to pass through. So higher aperture values make your photographs brighter. When the aperture is less, the light hitting the sensor of the camera would be low making the photographs darker.

You can adjust the aperture size from the settings in your camera. Aperture values are considered in terms of f-stops. Increasing these stops means making the aperture hole larger. The f-numbers are measured as f/5.6, f/8, and so on. A smaller f-stop value (f/1.4) means a larger aperture, while a larger f-stop value means a smaller aperture (f/8).

You might be confused initially because of this controversial effect of aperture values and aperture holes but gradually, you’ll learn with practice.

03: Shutter Speed

It’s the time for which the camera’s sensor gets exposed to light during capturing a photograph. The more time the shutter stays open, the more light enters the sensor of the camera making the image brighter and vice versa.

Understanding the shutter speed is easier than the other two variables from the exposure triangle. The shutter speed is measured as a portion of a second for which the shutter stays open. The shutter speed values are considered as 1/8, 1/15, 1/30, and so on.

The smaller values mean the shutter remains open for a long while, the larger values mean the shutter remains open for a very small fraction of time.

Discover The Importance of Exposure Triangle

We’ve already discussed that a camera exposure triangle helps to make an image better by adding enough light. So now we need to focus on the individual importance of the three components of the exposure triangle.

01: Importance of ISO

ISO works in coordination with aperture and shutter speed, putting an effect on the brightness of a photograph. Keeping into consideration the other two variables if the ISO of a photograph is on 100 or 200, the image could be too dark.

While boosting the ISO value to 800 will help with more light in the photograph making it clear. The benefit of ISO is when you take a photograph in darker surroundings or at night. Boosting the values of ISO will keep your photographs bright, preventing them from being dark.

Even if you have enough flight in your surroundings, keeping the ISO value in the center, like at 400, will make your photographs look better.

02: Importance of Aperture

While taking a photograph, the ultimate need is to keep the photograph bright enough so that no area is unclear. Also, we do not want our image to be too bright, losing its realness.

By controlling the aperture value together with the other two variables from the exposure triangular, you can achieve this goal. When capturing a photo in bright surrounding photographs like a sunset, you can narrow the aperture to reduce the light entering the camera.

During the night, the aperture should be wide enough to allow as much light as possible to enter the camera to make the photographs bright.

03: Importance of Shutter Speed

Opening the shutter for a more extended period means the camera sensor gathers more light to add to the photograph giving out brighter and good-looking images. The shutter speed works together with the aperture and ISO.

If the ISO is increased at its higher value and the aperture hole is kept larger, but the shutter speed is lower, the image might not be bright enough because the camera lens wants to be able to gather light. That’s why appropriate shutter speed helps to keep the photograph better.

How Does ISO Work Exposure Triangle In Photography?

Using ISO is not as simple as it feels. Applying higher ISO values in low-quality cameras adds grains to the final picture leaving it looking low quality. The grains in the picture are called digital noise because of the scattered pixels in the photograph with a higher ISO.

While capturing landscape photographs, it is better to use moderate or base ISO. Otherwise, you will get a blurry photograph with extra brightness. To capture a portrait photograph with high ISO, you need a high-quality camera like Nikon or Canon.

The base ISO is called the unamplified sensitivity of the camera sensor. The lowest available value of ISO is considered the base ISO used in certain conditions to reduce the amount of noise.

So it’s not only essential to understand how ISO works. You need to focus on the quality of the camera that you are using because if that is not worth it then there is no use of adjusting ISO values.

Final Thoughts

Understanding the exposure triangle in photography is like learning the grammar of any language before you start using it. The expertise of a photographer is measured through the knowledge and perfection of using the exposure triangle.

Practicing by taking photographs of different scenarios using the exposure triangle setting will gradually take you to become an expert photographer. Play with the settings, and try different shutter speeds and ISO to learn what works best for which type of photography.