Five Tips to Becoming a Better Photographer - Tip Number One By: Robert Davila

Tip Number One: Understanding Exposure
I don’t care which camera or model you have, even if you are using your I Phone camera.  All cameras have two settings.  These two settings are the basis for photographing.  Aperture works similar to the pupil in your eyes.  In a darker lighting situation, it needs to be open more and in a lighter situation, it needs to be closed down.    This Setting controls not only exposure but the depth of field.  How much of the image is going to be in focus?  A limited depth of field (small amount of the image in focus) is created when the aperture is open up (F 2).  An increased depth of field is created when the aperture is closed down (f 22).  The other setting that is important to a camera is the shutter speed.  This is done for the most part in a fraction of a second.  When your camera reads out 500 for a shutter speed it means that that shutter open and closed 500th of a second.  That is pretty fast.   A Guideline to follow is that if shooting anything less than 1/60, you are going to need a tripod.   The shutter speed is going to control motion in your image.  If you are going to take a picture and want the motion to be blurry, you are going to photograph with a slower shutter speed.  Want your moving subject to be sharp, use a faster shutter speed.
Determining your right exposure will be based on how you meter the light.  You must read your manual to understand how to get the “right” exposure.  But keep in mind once you have figure out your correct setting you can adjust them as needed.  For example, you might want to use a slower shutter speed than suggested.   By increase the time that light will enter the camera you can use your aperture to cut down the amount of light coming in.  So if you allow more time on one end you close down on the other end.  You will then see your meter reading that is “right “again.   Think of it as a faucet filling a bucket.  If you open the facet all the way you will fill that bucket quicker than if you slow it down.  At the end you could have both buckets filled, just one will take longer.        
Next week, I will discuss Tip Number Two.   
Have a great weekend and take some photographs.