The Exposure Triangle sounds like the name of a complex spy novel, but in reality this is the term used for the three fundamental elements of exposure: aperture, shutter speed and ISO. Our latest photography cheat sheet illustrates the Exposure Triangle and how it affects your camera settings.
Creating a harmonious exposure using the aperture, shutter speed and ISO is a juggling act. As soon as you make a decision about one element, you’ll need to compromise with another.
The trick is get all three elements working together so you get the results you want and not what the camera tells you you can have.
Because of that, it’s really worth putting in the groundwork and getting to grips with the basics of shutter speed (how long the camera’s sensor is exposed to the light), aperture (how much light the lens lets in, which also affects depth of field) and ISO (the sensitivity level of the sensor).
Once you know how to do this, there’s nothing you can’t do.
The Exposure Triangle Explained
Understand how the Exposure Triangle works by following this simple three-pointed guide. Click on the infographic to see the larger version, or drag and drop it to your desktop.
The relationship between shutter speed, aperture and ISO is at the heart of all photography.
At one time, shutter speed and aperture were the only exposure variables you could change from one shot to the next as the ISO was set by the type of film you were using, but the introduction of digital cameras has made it possible to change ISO on the fly rather than unloading film or switching bodies.
Photographers now have more control over exposure than ever before.
10 common exposure problems every photographer faces (and how to fix them)
How to use a camera: exposure modes made simple
What is ISO: when to increase sensitivity, types of noise and more
White balance: Photoshop fixes and in-camera solutions for any situation
Annoying problems at common aperture settings: and how to solve them