Here Are the 4 Elements of Exposure

Exposure is the amount of light that reaches a photographic film or image sensor, resulting in an image. Exposure value (EV) is a number that represents a combination of a camera’s shutter speed and f-number, such that all combinations that yield the same exposure have the same EV (for any given scene luminance).

There are four elements to exposure: aperture, shutter speed, ISO sensitivity, and scene luminance. Aperture controls the amount of light that enters the camera, shutter speed controls how long the light hits the sensor, ISO sensitivity determines how much the sensor is affected by the light, and scene luminance is the brightness of the overall scene.


Aperture is one of the four elements of exposure, along with shutter speed, ISO, and EV. It is a measure of how much light is let in through the camera’s lens at one time. A wider aperture (larger f-number) lets in more light than a narrower aperture (smaller f-number).

Aperture also affects depth of field, which is the distance between the nearest and farthest objects in an image that appear acceptably sharp. A large aperture results in a shallow depth of field, while a small aperture results in a deep depth of field.

There are many aspects to consider when choosing an aperture setting, including the amount of light available, the desired effect on depth of field, and the camera’s capabilities.

Shutter Speed

Shutter speed plays a big role in how your photos turn out. A fast shutter speed will freeze action, while a slower shutter speed will allow for motion blur. Choosing the right shutter speed for your photo depends on what you’re trying to capture.

If you’re photographing something that’s moving quickly, like a speeding car or an athlete in mid-air, you’ll need to use a fast shutter speed to freeze the action. A good rule of thumb is to use a minimum shutter speed that’s equal to 1/500th of a second when photographing moving subjects.

On the other hand, if you want to capture motion blur, such as streaks from taillights or waterfalls flowing over rocks, you’ll need to use a slow shutter speed like 1/15th or 1/30th of a second. Just keep in mind that using slow shutter speeds means you’ll need to use either a tripod or image stabilization feature to avoid camera shake and keep your photos sharp.

When about landscape photography, there’s no universal answer for choosing the right shutter speed since there can be both stationary and moving objects in your scene. If there’s movement involved – like flowing water or leaves blowing in the wind – then you may want experiment with different speeds until you find one that gives you the look you want while still keeping everything else reasonably sharp and free from blurring effects


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To produce a photograph or video you must use the exposure triangle in order to balance aperture, shutter speed and ISO, and as a result, control how long and how much light enters the camera sensor

A camera’s shutter is an important component in the overall exposure of a photograph or video. The length of time that the shutter is open directly affects how much light hits the film or image sensor. A fast shutter speed (1/1000th of a second or faster) will freeze action, while a slower shutter speed (1/60th of a second or slower) can be used to intentionally blur moving subjects.

Aperture is another critical element in the exposure triangle. Aperture refers to the size of the opening in the lens through which light enters the camera body. The larger the aperture, the more light that enters and vice versa. In addition to controlling how much light hits your sensor, aperture also dictates depth-of-field, or how much of your image will be in focus from front to back. A large aperture (f/2.8 or wider) will result in a shallow depth-of-field while a small aperture (f/16 or smaller) will give you greater depth-of-field and everything from foreground to background will appear sharp and in focus.

ISO rounds out our exposure triangle and it represents your camera’s sensitivity to light. A low ISO setting like 100 is perfect for brightly lit scenes where there is very little chance of image noise ( graininess). But as lighting conditions get darker, you’ll need to bump up your ISO accordingly in order to maintain a proper exposure without introducing too much image noise into your photo.

I'm a photography enthusiast with a passion for classic film cameras and writing. I believe that photography is a powerful tool for storytelling and I strive to create images that are evocative and meaningful. I hope you enjoy my work!