October 12, 2015

Making Exposure Choices Easier

Rob Sheppard recently posted an article on his blog that describes a simple way to choose your camera settings for nearly any situation. He recommends first selecting an aperture for your desired depth of focus. Then select a shutter speed for the proper exposure. (In Aperture Priority exposure mode, the camera does this for you.) If the shutter speed isn't what you need, adjust the ISO to achieve it.

In the photograph below, I selected a aperture of F/16 for lots of sharpness front to back down the row of trees. This left my shutter speed at 1/15 second, too slow to stop the motion of the falling leaves in the slight breeze. So I raised the ISO from 100 to 400 which allowed me to speed up the shutter to 1/60 second.

F/16, 1/60 second, ISO 400

While Sheppard's focus is on nature photography, his suggestions will work well for portraits, still life, nearly any type of photography. If you understand the basic relationship among aperture, shutter speed and ISO, then you will find this article helpful. In fact, the approach he describes is one I've been following myself ever since I learned manual exposure photography with film in the 1990s! It works!

Simplified Exposure Choices by Rob Sheppard