If only it were as easy…
…as pushing a button.  You don’t need to own a camera to take better photos of your children and family.  With a basic understanding of the exposure triangle and it’s three different settings, you can take noticeably better photos using your cell phone camera.

Step 1: Download a camera app that allows you to easily adjust and change the ISO, aperture and shutter speed.  

Step 2: Read on!

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Exposure is the total amount of light your camera’s sensor is exposed to when you take a photo. When a photo is under exposed it’s too dark. When it’s over exposed it’s too bright.

Exposure is controlled by aperture, shutter speed, and ISO (the exposure triangle). You can use various combinations of the three settings to achieve the same exposure but there are trade-offs to how you use the different settings.

Aperture is like the pupils in our eyes that open and close depending on the amount of light we need to see properly. When we need more light the pupil opens up (creates a bigger opening) and when there is too much light the pupil gets smaller (creates a smaller opening).  

If your photo is too dark, you can make it brighter by lowering the aperture number (e.g., f4.5).  If your photo is too bright, you can make it darker by raising the aperture number (e.g., f11)

Aperture also controls the “Depth of Field” of your photo, which refers to how much of the image you want to be in focus.  If you want the background of your photo to be blurry, you need a lower aperture number (e.g., f1.8, f 3.5).  If you want your subject and the background to be in focus, you need a higher aperture number (e.g., f11, f18).  

Shutter Speed
There are shutters in your camera that open and close to let light into your camera. The shutter speed is the speed at which those shutters open and close.

A fast shutter speed means less light exposure and a slow shutter speed means more light enters your camera.

Shutter speed determines whether motion is frozen or exaggerated in your photo.

Fast shutter speeds will allow you to catch a crisp photo of something in motion (like a toddler) and a slow shutter speed can result in implied motion in a photo (like the blur of a toddler running away from you).

If your shutter speed is slow (e.g., 1/80 of a second), your photo and subject may be blurry.  If your whole photo or subject is blurry, your shutter speed needs to be faster (e.g., raise it from 1/100 of a second to 1/400 of a second).

ISO determines how sensitive your camera is to light.

Recommended ISO settings for daylight or bright, outdoor situations are usually 100-200. Darker situations, indoor shots, or sports shots require a higher ISO (800+). For example, if you find your photos are too dark in a lower light setting, increasing your ISO number would result in brighter images.

If you want to learn how to use your camera, you can get all the details on my Learn to Use Your Camera course here

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