Skill Level: Beginner, intermediate
Duration: 6 hours (one session or 2 3-hr sessions)
Prerequisite: None, Photo I, Basic Camera Operation
Dates: On Request
Camera vision vs human vision
The light meter
Overview of traditional exposure concepts and methods
The Exposure Equation
One of the primary components of photography, and one of the most problematic, is determining the “proper” exposure for a subject or scene you’re recording with your camera. Since the beginnings of photography there have been many different methods devised to attempt to simplify this process. However, these “tricks” have only resulted in the creation of “recipes” that fail to address the underlying reasons why a photographer chooses a particular range of camera settings to create the final image they envision in front of them or visualize in their mind. The recipe approach to photographic exposure doesn’t account for the extremely wide range of options a photographer has in making a photograph, potentially leading to frustration and stagnation of creativity.
Determining the exposure of a subject or scene involves the mechanical aspects of the camera as well as many interacting factors having nothing directly to do with the camera. These additional factors are a partial cause to the perception of complexity or the actual complexity of any given situation. Over the years, I’ve tried several of the most-used and promoted methods/”tricks” of describing and determining exposure, but none of them proved easy to use or practical for the majority of situations photographers find themselves in. It’s well known the three components of photographic exposure are the aperture, shutter speed, and ISO. After examining my own practice, I’ve developed my own way of understanding the relationships of these components and how to understand and visualize adjustments to exposure without resorting to a recipe, an ineffective meme, or confusing table of numbers. I call this way of understanding exposure The Exposure Equation and have been teaching it in my classes and workshops for almost 10 years. To be clear, The Exposure Equation is not a method to calculate exposure, but a way to understand and visualize the relationships between aperture, shutter speed, ISO, and light, to make it easier for you to make your own decisions regarding the exposure you envision, and accomplish the goals you set for your photography.
This 6-hour class/workshop covers the foundations of photographic exposure, including understanding light, how the camera “sees” differently than our eyes, aperture, shutter, and ISO; what they are, what they do, and how they interact with each other to create the photographic image. We’ll begin in the classroom and then go outside to practice and apply the method. My handmade, self-published book The Exposure Equation: A Practical Method for Understanding Exposure is included with this class.