Learning Light

I'm trying to venture out of my comfort zone and start shooting (my camera, not guns) in full manual mode. Up until now I've shot in aperture priority, which means I control the aperture (depth of field), but the camera takes care of figuring out what shutter speed to use. Sometimes this works great, but often, if the lighting is funny or off in some way, I'll end up with photos that are too dark or over-exposed.

Shooting in manual mode gives me more control over my exposure, and I know I need to learn it. But it's kind of HARD!

Here is an example of how I'm trying to teach myself. A carnation.

Side note: Here's a little something about me -- I don't like carnations. I think they are probably one of the ugliest flowers available. They seem cheap to me. Like in high school when you could buy your significant other a carnation on Valentines Day...? Really? That's how you want to show them you care? Lame.

But that's just me. And it has nothing to do with this blog post.

Back to my photography lessons. I set up my ugly carnation that I got for free at the Mille Lacs County State Fair and took a shot.

Whoa! Waaaaaaaay too dark! So I slowed down my shutter speed a bit and tried again.

Still too dark. Next I slowed down the shutter speed even more dramatically AND I bumped up the ISO, which controls how sensitive the camera's sensor will be to light. That produced this result.

Not bad! Just one more tweak in Lightroom, and voila! A very nice picture of a very ugly flower.

Next, I zoomed out for a full-length picture. All of the sudden more light was hitting the sensor and therefore, the photo was over-exposed.

I sped the shutter speed back up and fixed the problem.

I'm a believer that light is the #1 factor in creating a good photo. It will take some time for me to get used to which shutter speeds are appropriate for certain lighting situations, but I'm sure (I hope) that eventually (with plenty of practice) it will start to come naturally. :)


Brenda L said...

There's a light meter built into your camera to help you expose the pictures properly in manual mode. Take a look at your manual for where it is and how to read it.

Homeschooling Momtographer said...

You're off to a great start! It'll be second nature in no time. :)


Sarah D said...

I wasn't a carnation fan either, until I started working at my shop, you wouln't believe some of the stuff we have done with carnations! I will make you a carnation lover hehehe ;)

Brian J said...

The best photography advice I ever got was this: "You're not shooting the subject, you're shooting the light." It's true -- all images are just reflected light, so learning to control your lighting is the #1 factor in producing really great shots. Keep up the good work!