Exposure Triangle

You must learn it in order to easily manipulate the manual controls of your camera.
Shutter speed - Aperture - ISO
Tack sharp - Bokeh - POP

Ok now that I've gotten the crazy out of the way :) let's get on to the real point....the exposure triangle. When you want to start learning manual mode you will learn quickly that not just one thing goes in to getting that perfect exposure. 

Let me show you a little demonstration:

ISO - 100
Aperture - f/1.8

Shutter - 1/2000

Do you see the creamy background? How the subject is clearly defined and seems to POP as opposed to the rest of the scene? BOKEH - aesthetic quality of the blur - is what that is.

So let's get on to the triangle part of the lesson, let's say I needed to adjust my aperture....I won't be able to ONLY adjust that - I need to reciprocate to keep the triangle balanced.

ISO - 100
Aperture - f/3.2
Shutter - 1/640

What happened? The background is a little less blurred, more in focus. This allows for more of the image to be in focus (for example photographing more subjects in the same frame).
So how did I do that?
I closed down my aperture 5 stops so I had to RECIPROCATE with my shutter by slowing it down 5 stops. What you do to one, you MUST do to the other in order to maintain proper exposure.

Let's go another 5 stops, reciprocating of course.

ISO - 100
Aperture - f/5.6
Shutter - 1/200


You see there is even more of the image in focus now - while maintaining the same exposure.

Let's go 5 more, remembering to reciprocate to keep the triangle balanced.

ISO - 100
Aperture - f/10
Shutter - 1/60

So this whole time I have managed to keep the ISO the same and only adjust the shutter and aperture. You can see now that my shutter is getting quite slow at 1/60. I can still close down my aperture 5 more stops, but I cannot slow my shutter down 5 more stops without greatly increasing the possibility of camera shake....luckily I can adjust my ISO to keep the triangle balanced.


ISO - 400
Aperture - f/18
Shutter - 1/50

By adding the adjustment of the ISO in conjunction with the shutter speed I was able to maintain the balance.


  1. very nicely done! :)

  2. Thank you for posting this Morgan! It cannot be said or studied enough...and the way you presented it really helps it make sense :)

  3. Thank you, my friend taught me how to use my fancy camera, and self learning as I go, this was very helpful!


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