Even a point and shoot camera can be used to great effect if you understand the fundamentals of photography. In fact, digital photography has made the practice easier than ever before. One you understand the principles behind the exposure triangle, and develop a sense of what settings to use in various lighting conditions, you’ll shoot professional-looking photos every time.
Learn the Triangle
The exposure triangle consists of:
- Shutter Speed – How quickly the shutter closes once it has been opened by the operator.
- Aperture – a function that controls what is in focus, but has the side effect of manipulating the amount of light the viewfinder can capture. The aperture can be opened or closed a certain amount to affect how much light hits the sensor.
- ISO – Old time photographers will just call it “Film Speed” but it controls how grainy, washed out or colorful a photo will look once the picture has been taken.
Manipulate these three elements in tandem to adjust how much light the sensor is able to pick up. The simplest ones to start with are ISO and aperture because they don’t require a tripod. However, you will need a longer shutter speed in darker environments because the camera needs to capture light to create the image. Also bear in mind there are tradeoffs. When shooting with a high ISO, images can become grainy. Aperture also affects depth of field, which will make certain foreground objects seem in focus while the background is blurred.