Aperture size and shutter speed add up to create our exposure. Learn how they work, and how to use them to get the creative effect you desire.

Exposure is a combination of two fundamental camera settings – aperture diameter and shutter speed. Many combinations will give the right exposure, but each will have differences is depth of field, motion blur, and so on.

This interplay of different factors can seem complicated, and people can be put off learning about exposure altogether, opting instead to use their camera’s automatic mode to do the work for them.

However, your camera won’t do nearly as good a job at figuring out the best exposure settings as you would, and this can result in photos which lack contrast and impact. Exposure is actually a very simple concept, and once you learn it you’ll be able to take more control over your photos, producing better shots in the process.


Exposure is the amount of light that reaches the camera’s sensor (or film). If we don’t get enough light we end up with a photo which is dark (underexposed). Too much light and our photo comes out bright (overexposed).

Hummingbird hovering near a flower

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