What Is An Exposure In Photography? Types & Best Settings

Updated on February 28, 2024 in Photography by

What Is An Exposure In Photography? Types & Best Settings

What is an Exposure in Photography?

Exposure in photography is the amount of light that reaches the camera sensor when the shutter is open. This light is then converted into data, the data is processed to turn them into images.

If more light reaches the camera sensor (in terms of photography, if it is more exposed) the image will turn out bright. Similarly, if the shutter closes sooner, less light will reach the camera sensor (meaning the image is less exposed) the image will look dark.

Both scenarios have their pros and cons.

A bright image can result in destroying the details of the subject like texture, original color, background, etc. On the other hand, dark images mean that the details will be captured but since the image is dark it will make it harder to see.

So what should you be doing? How do you determine correct exposure in photography?

Here are the best settings that you can use to set correct exposure in photography and adjust according to the scene.

Best Exposure Setting & How To Control It

To control the exposure in photography, you can work around the three components of photography. That are ISO, Aperture, and Shutter Speed. All three together form an exposure triangle, through which you can control the exposure setting.


ISO in Photography

ISO is the camera setting that controls the camera’s sensitivity. It determines how sensitive the sensor will be towards the light when it falls on the sensor and forms an image.

It also adds artificial light when to illuminate the image when lens light enters the camera lens. The base and most common ISO setting is ISO:100. It doesn’t add artificial lighting and ensures a noise-free image. You can learn more about its use in our guide What is ISO in photography and how to use it.


Aperture in Photography

Aperture is the camera setting that controls how much light will enter through the lens. It contains the opening through which the lens will enter the camera. A wider aperture means more light, smaller aperture means less light enters the camera.

The aperture on a camera is controlled through the focal length. The best aperture is considered between f/1.8 and f/2. If you are just getting started, you can learn everything about What is an aperture in photography in our guide.

Shutter Speed

Shutter Speed in Photography

Shutter Speed is the camera setting that controls how fast or slow the shutter will close to capture an image. The longer it takes to complete, the more light will fall, and the image will be more exposed.

It is calculated in the terms of frames per second, that is how many frames are captured in one second. The best 1/200, where the shutter is open for 1/200th of a second. We have shared a detailed guide on what is the shutter speed that you can refer to learn more.

4 Types Of Exposure In Photography

There are mainly 4 types of exposure in photography. Each is based on the result you get from different combinations of ISO, Aperture, and Shutter Speed.


Overexposure in Photography

Overexposure is a type of exposure in photography where the sensor is exposed to too much light. This results in the loss of the details and washing away of bright parts of the image.


Underexposure in Photography

Underexposure is a type of exposure where the sensor is not exposed to not enough light. This results in the image is dark. All the shadows are lost and all dark parts are black.

Long exposure

Long exposure in Photography

Long exposure is a type of exposure where we keep the shutter speed slow and let the light enter the lens for a longer duration. This is most used during night photography especially to capture the trail of light and create amazing photo effects.

Double Exposure

Double Exposure in Photography

Double exposure is another type of photography exposure used to capture artistic images that seem like margin two images. Here the shutter speed is opened twice and captures different images. As a result, both scenes are merged.

Bonus Read

Understanding what is exposure in photography and playing around to explore it is essential for a photographer. It helps you learn how to control the lights in your photography and capture various types of exposure in different settings.

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