Great BEF Question

Great BEF Question

Great Question:
In your announcement at the beginning of the week you mentioned to reach out to you if we were having trouble understanding BEF.  I have tried going over it so many times in my head but I just can’t seem to understand.  Could you help me please?


Let’s get you squared away now. 🙂 I am happy to help. Go get your camera so that you can dial in the settings as you read if you like. Take each part in stages. Understand each stage before moving on. Email me for questions.

We are going to start by going over a few things that you probably know but will assure we are on the same page.

As you know, your camera allows you to control how much light is going into it by controlling the ISO, shutter speed, and aperture. The ISO determines how sensitive your camera is to light. The lower the ISO the brighter your light should be. This means ISO 100 is good for bright light like full sun. When you are shooting inside, you will want to bump up your ISO to something like 400 or 800. Every time you double the ISO (100 to 200 for example) you double the sensitivity of your sensor. You can think of it like having one light on and then turning on a second light of the same wattage on in your home. This is double the light. If you were to go from 200 to 400 ISO, this would be like having two lights on and then turning two more lights of the same wattage on to have a total of four lights. (Yup, it’s that easy.)

How long your shutter stays open is based on your shutter speed. So if you go from 1/2 a second to 1 second, you have left the shutter open twice as long on one second from 1/2 of a second. By going from 1/2 a second to 1 second, your photo will be brighter by one stop. (This is the same as going from ISO 100 to 200. The photo will be brighter by one stop.)

Our last tool is the aperture – a variable sized hole inside your lens. It works in stops values too by being able to brighten (or darken) your exposure. For example, if you are at f/11 and you open your shutter to f/8 you have brightened your exposure by one stop. Again, this is like going from ISO 100 to 200. When you go from f/11 to f/8, your photo will be one stop brighter.

You may have noticed with the aperture that the larger the number is the smaller the hole is in the lens. This is due to the aperture being a fraction. Think of a delicious pie/cake. If sugar and calories were not an issue, would you rather have 1/8th or 1/11th of a slice? Most people would want more pie and choose the 1/8th (larger) slice.

Naturally, the converse of this is true. If you go from ISO 200 to 100, or shutter speed from 1 second to 1/2 a second, or f/8 to f/11 your photo will be one stop darker because half the amount to light is getting to your sensor. Of course as you go up and down each control’s values, you will be jumping by one stop.

NOTE: Your camera is most likely set up allow you to control your exposure by a 1/3 of a stop. This means you will have to click each dial three times to make a full stop. This is why you want to learn the FULL STOP range for each control.  Below is an image of the full stop range for each with examples of how each setting might affect your photo. A larger aperture hole will give you less in focus. A slower shutter speed will allow blur to show in your camera. Higher ISO settings can create visual noise. Your camera and lens may not have ALL of these settings shown but that’s OK. It’ll have enough for you to work with.


Whew, with all that knowledge as our base, let’s move on to your question – how do you make all three of these controls work for together to create a properly exposed photo? This is where BEF can come in to help.

The basic exposure formula (BEF) is more commonly known as the Sunny 16 Rule. This means that on a bright, sunny day with sunlight hitting your subject your exposure will be f/16 @ 1/ISO. To dial this into your camera, let’s have your ISO set to 100. This means your shutter speed would be set to 1/100 of a second too. As we are working in full stop scales, we can see that the closest shutter speed setting in the attached image to 100 is 1/125 of a second. That’ll work just fine. So…

Bright sunny day with ISO set to would 100 = f/16 @ 1/125 of a second.

Does this make sense? If no, email me. (

Now, let’s change the ISO to 200. What would your shutter speed change to?  Again, here is the full stop settings to help or use your camera to figure it out.


Don’t read down for the answer. Work to figure it out yourself. 😉

Did you come up with a shutter speed of 1/250th of a second? If so, then you have figured out the correct exposure for a sunny day. (Yay!)

Of course, life does not give us only bright sunny days. Sometimes haze, clouds, and night rolls in or we could be photographing inside. This is where the BEF Cheat Sheet comes into help –

If you have a look at it, you will see that haze in the air will reflect back one stop of light. This means we need to add one stop of light (make it brighter) to our exposure Sunny 16 Rule exposure to compensate. You can do this with the ISO, or the shutter speed, or aperture. Choose one. For example:
We start out on a sunny day with an exposure of f/16 @ 1/ISO. This means that if our ISO is set to 200 our exposure will be f/16 @ 1/250. Then we notice haze is rolling in so we need a brighter photo by one stop. Let’s look at ways of correcting the exposure:

Sunny Day:
ISO 200 @ f/16 @ 1/250 of a second

Hazy Day:
ISO 200 @ f/11 @ 1/250 of a second – Opened aperture one stop
ISO 200 @ f/16 @ 1/125 of a second – Slowed down the shutter by one stop
ISO 400 @ f/16 @ 1/250 of a second – Increased the sensitivity of the sensor by 1 stop

You only need to make ONE of the corrections above to correct for the exposure. You choose which one by determining if you want less depth of field (less in focus) or potentially showing more motion blur or possibly showing more noise respectively.

Got it? If not, email me. (

We are going to move on to a brighter cloudy day. Looking at the cheat sheet, we see we need to open up (brighten) our exposure by two stops (+2). This means you can choose two of the above settings and dial then into your camera to get the correct exposure. For example a new exposure could look like:

Sunny F/16 Day:
ISO 200 @ f/16 @ 1/250 of a second

Bright, Overcast Day:
ISO 200 @ f/11 @ 1/125 = opened the aperture one stop and slowed the shutter one stop
ISO 400 @ f/11 @ 1/250 = make the sensor more sensitive by one stop and opened the aperture by one stop

I won’t bore you with all the combinations because I also want to go let you know that you can also make two stop changes to one of the controls. Here are the examples:

Sunny F/16 Day:
ISO 200 @ f/16 @ 1/250 of a second

Bright, Overcast Day:
ISO 200 @ f/8 @ 1/250 of a second – Opened aperture two stops from the Sunny 16 Rule
ISO 200 @ f/16 @ 1/60 of a second – Slowed down the shutter by two stops
ISO 800 @ f/16 @ 1/250 of a second – Increased the sensitivity of the sensor by two stops

OK, I have thrown a lot at you. Let me know where you need more clarity.


What is the Difference Between and Incident and Reflective Light Meter?

Great Question:
In the test, there was a question that asked:
“T or F
An incident light meter is the type of meter built into most 35mm cameras today.”

Please explain why this is false.  Thank you!!

Hello and thank you for your questions

There are two types of light meters – incident and reflective. Let’s talk about the reflective one first.

Reflective Meter:
A reflective light meter is the type that is in your camera. It reads the light that reflects off of surfaces you are metering. A reflective light meter can be fooled as to what the correct exposure will be due to some surfaces being more bright or dark. A reflect meter takes whatever you are photographing and converts all the tones to 18% gray. So if you are photographing a white wall, the meter does not know it is white. It will give you are reading to make the wall 18% gray. As you want the wall to be exposed like it is white, you will need to open up (brighten) your exposure by two stops.

Conversely, if you are photographing a scene that is mostly black or dark brown/red/blue/green/purple/orange, the meter is still going to give you are reading for 18% gray. Fortunately, you are smart and can use this consistent meter reading and make adjustments by closing down your exposure (letting in less light) by two stops so that your 18% gray tones will get darker.

The best way to really cover your bases with important photos that have challenging lighting conditions is to bracket your photos – one taken at what the meter gives you, one or two taken at a stop or two underexposed (less light), and one or two taken a stop or two over exposed (more light). (In some challenging light situations, I will bracket my shots and then combine them later so that I have the exposures I want for each area which I brush in later in Photoshop with layers – but that is a different lesson.)

Incident Meter:
The other type of light meter is an incident light meter. This type of meter is handheld. You place it in the area of light that is most important for you to get correct in your photograph. An incident meter will measure the amount of light that falls directly on it. This is the same amount of light that would fall on your model/scene. The incident light meter will give you an 18% reading also, but as it measures the actual light falling on its sensor,you do not have to worry about making adjustments for light/dark environments or subjects.

Here is a link to an article on both meters that goes into the details a little differently: (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.

Let me know if you have further questions you want clarification with.

Take care,

How Do I Work with BDE?

Great Question:
I also have a question about the basic exposure formula. I don’t really understand how I would set the exposures. Does the ISO determine the shutter speed and aperture setting? I’m not really sure how it works.



Before I start in on BDE, let’s back up a step and answer your ISO question.  ISO settings tell your camera how sensitive to make your sensor.  If you have your camera set to ISO 100, then it is less sensitive to light and is best used in daylight or brightly lit areas that mimic daylight brightness.  When you double your ISO number, you make it twice as sensitive.  So 200 ISO is twice as sensitive as 100 ISO.  Imagine you are in a room where there are two lights with the same wattage right next to each other and both are turned on.  If you create a properly exposed photograph at 100 ISO, you could also get a same properly exposed result by turning one of the lights off and correcting only  your ISO to 200.  Because you made your sensor twice as sensitive to light, when you cut the light in half the photo will look the same.  Cool, eh?
This doubling of sensitivity is called a “stop”.  Continuing on from 100 ISO to 200, I would say that “my sensor is one stop more sensitive.”  If I doubled ISO 200 to 400, this is also considered “one stop more light” into the the camera.  (Technically, the same amount of light is going into the camera, but we photographers are not alway so technical in the way we speak.)  😉  Now a quick quiz for you…. If you changed your ISO from 100 to 400, how many more stops would you have increased you light into the camera?  Did you say two?  If so, give yourself a pat on the back.  Every time you double the ISO (100, 200, 400, 800, 1600) you are doubling the light sensitivity of the camera.  So, ISO 100 to 1600 is a change of four stops more light.  Got it?  Cool.
Now for something to pay attention to.  When you change your ISO from 100 to 1600 you are moving four stops, but this does not mean that you have “increased your light” by 4 times the amount of light.  Remember, you are doubling the each stop.  This means that you are creating the simple equation of 2 x 2 x 2 x 2 = 16 times more light.  (Ooooo, that is a good quiz question, don’tcha’ think?)  😉
We have been talking about doubling the light each stop and I have a feeling that you are starting to get your head around it so I am going to reverse the scenario for you.  Imagine that your ISO is set to 400 and you want to bring it down to 200.  What happens then?  Naturally, you half the amount of light.  So ISO 400 to 200 makes the sensor 1/2 as sensitive.  The halving of the half also goes into play when you move more than one stop.  How much less sensitive is 1600 ISO to 100?   If it helps, think like  you are using measuring cups.  You start with a full cup, go down to a 1/2 cup, then down to a 1/4 cup, then down to an 1/8 cup, and finally down to a 1/16 cup.  So when you change your ISO from 1600 down to 100 your sensor is 1/16th less sensitive.  This is like taking 16 lights of the same wattage and then turning them off until you are using one light.  That is a big change.
Whew, that was a lot of take in.  If you need to look up and take a breath before we move on, please do.  🙂  We are about to dive into BDE.
Ready?  OK, go get your camera if you want.  Sometimes it’s easier to understand what is going on if you dial in the changes.  If it gets to be too much, then just let it be a supporting friend next to you.  😉
BDE (basic daylight exposure) is pretty easy, but let’s start from the beginning.  In the real-world, BDE is known as the Sunny/16 rule.  Technically, BDE = ISO @ f/16 on a bright sunny day.  (This is another good quiz question.)  So on a full-sun day with no clouds nor haze blocking the sun’s light, your exposure when your camera is set to ISO 100 will be 1/100th of a second at f/16.  As we are working in full stops this term, we adjust the shutter speed to be 1/125th of a second.  (The tiny quickening of the exposure will not affect your exposure much.)  Essentially, on a bright sunny day, you will:
  1. Set your aperture to f/16
  2. Set your ISO to a number that feels good for you – usually 100 or 200 is better for full sun
  3. Then you will correct your shutter speed to match your ISO

Easy, right?

Now I know what you are thinking, “Yeah, that’s easy, but what do I do on a heavy overcast day?”  Another great question, thanks for asking.
On a cloudy day we have less light making it to the earth.  The clouds are blocking, absorbing, and reflecting some of the sun’s light and we just does not reach us.  This means we are going to have to adjust our exposure so that we are allowing for this lack of light.  We can make this adjustment one of three ways:
  1. Increasing the ISO – 100 to 800
  2. Opening up our aperture – f/16 to f/5.6
  3. Slowing down our shutter – 1/125 to 1/15 of a second

NOTE: You only need to change one of the tree options, not all three at the same time.  Making all three changes will give you a completely overexposed photo.  You don’t have to trust me, try it out outside.

Back to the lesson: I am betting you noticed that I have let in three stops more light with my exposure for each of these options.  How do I know to ‘open up’ the exposure by three stops?  I checked my handydandy BDE cheatsheet found here – – and in our Resouces section of Week 2.  For heavy overcast days, it tells me  BEF + 3 Stops.  The “+ 3” is telling me to add 3 stops more light to my exposure from the BDE.  It is a good idea to have this cheatsheet with you when you photograph so feel free to print it out and stick it in your camera bag or photograph it with your phone and then mark it as a favorite so you can access it easily.
Please keep in mind that you do not have to change only one option above to get the correct exposure.  You can pick and choose what you want to change, but you only need to brighten your exposure by three stops.  You can increase your ISO by one stop and slow your shutter by two stops.  You can also adjust all three by one stop more light.  Let’s take a closer look at this.  First I am going to set up a full stop range of ISO, apertures, and shutter speeds so that you can refer to them as needed as I make exposure adjustments.
                 ISO: 100  200  400  800  1600  3200
         Aperture:  f/1  f/1.4   f/2   f/2.8   f/4    f/5.6   f/8      f/11     f/16     f/22      f/32      f/45
Shutter Speed:  1′   1/2    1/4   1/8   1/15   1/30  1/60  1/125  1/250  1/500  1/1000  1/2000  1/4000
Here all some examples of equivalent exposures:
ISO 100 f/16 @ 1/125  – This is BDE for a bright sunny day before the adjustments for heavy overcast
ISO 800 f/16 @ 1/125 – Increasing only the ISO by three stops
​ISO​ 100 f/5.6 @ 1/125 – Opening up only the aperture by three stops
ISO 100 f/16 @ 1/15 – Slowing down the shutter by three stops
ISO 200  f/8 @ 1/125 – Increasing the ISO by one stop and opening up the aperture by two stops
ISO 400 f/16 @ 1/60 – Increasing the ISO by two stops and slowing down the shutter by one stop
ISO 100 f/11 @ 1/30 – Opening up the aperture by one stop and slowing down the shutter by two stops
ISO 200 f/11 @ 1/60 – Increasing the ISO by one stop, opening the aperture by one stop, and slowing down the shutter by one stop

​We can keep going with the potential equivalents, but I can see your eyes are starting to glaze over from here.  🙂

OK, that was a lot of information.  If you need to go through it a couple times, please do.  Once you have this down, you understand the backbone of creating properly exposed photographs.  As photography is based on the speed of light, this will never change.  🙂
If you have any questions on any of this material, please let me know what they are.
Take care,

Guidance on the Chair Assignment Exposures

I’m having the worst time getting the exposure right for the chair assignment. At this point I’m just guessing when I choose the settings.

Thanks for letting me know.

First we need to determine if you are you using your camera’s meter or the Basic Exposure Formula (also known as the Sunny 16 Rule)?

If you are using your camera’s meter, then push the trigger button down half way to see the meter reading. If the lit area is on the minus side of the scale at the bottom of your viewfinder, then you need to slow down your shutter, open your aperture and/or increase your ISO until your meter has the center line/0 lit up.

If the lit area is on the plus side of the scale at the bottom of your viewfinder, then you need to quicken your shutter, close down your aperture and/or decrease your ISO until your meter has the center line/0 lit up.

If you’re using the Basic Exposure Formula (BEF), then you need to determine which lighting condition your chair is in and dial that setting into your camera. As a refresher, BEF states that when you subject is in bright sun you aperture will be set to f/16 with your shutter speed set to your ISO. Put another way: 

BEF = F/16 @ 1/ISO on a sunny day.

Note: it is best if you can get your chair into a sunny spot or bright light. Here are some exposure settings for various lighting conditions with an ISO set to 100:

Chair is out in to the daylight with direct sun       – ISO 100,      f/16,   1/125

Chair is in hazy weather                                          – ISO 100,       f/11,   1/125

Chair is in bright overcast                                        – ISO 100,       f/8,      1/125

Chair is in open shade                                              – ISO 100,       f/5.6,   1/125

If your ISO can only go down to 200, then change the shutter speed to 1/250.

Hope this helps.


Photo 109 Lecture 2 Math on Aperture Settings

Is anyone else having a hard time understanding the lecture 2 part about f/stop? I am reading it over and over and I just am not grasping the math (minimal as it is).

Thanks for the question.  Let’s see what I can do to help clear up some confusion.

Starting from ground zero on the f/stops….

Your lens has a variable diaphragm in it that controls the amount of light it lets in.  This diaphragm is called an aperture.  When you have your camera in manual mode, you will control how large or small this hole is.

The gentleman that invented this aperture needed a way to consistently set the lens’ aperture so that they would know how much light is coming in.  They would turn a barrel on the outside of the lens that would have measured cuts in it to open or close the aperture.  The clicks would tell them to stop at this point for a per-measured setting.  This is why these measured settings are called f/stops.

Now, these guys were great thinkers, but did not want to do any math that was harder than necessary.  They got together and decided that each stop would either 1/2 the amount of light as the previous stop or double the amount of light as the previous stop – depending on which way they were turning the aperture.  With me so far?  If they had their aperture closed down (very little light coming in) and then opened it one stop, the film was now receiving twice the amount of light.

If they opened it another stop, the film would receive twice the amount of light as the previous stop and four times the amount of light as the original stop.

Remember, you have to keep doubling the amount of light.  So if they opened their lens up three stops they would receive the same amount of light as 2 x 2 x 2.  This would be eight times the amount of light than the original setting.


Of course the converse is true too.  If their lens was all the way open (more light comes in) and they closed down their lens one stop, 1/2 the amount of light would come in.  Close down two stops and ¼ the amount of light would come in. Three stops and 1/8th of the amount of light would come in than the original aperture setting.


Now it might seem to make sense that the f/stops would be labeled 1, 1/2, 1/4, 1/8, but we have to remember that these were smart men with exacting-ish standards. Instead, they decided to label each stop based on mathematics of the focal length of a lens and the diameter of the opening. Once they had their wide-open aperture value, they then took this value and multiplied it by the square root of 2 (1.41) to determine the next aperture setting. Yeah, I don’t want to go into that math either. It’s just easier to learn the f/stop scale.

1_1.4_2 _ 2.8 _ 4 _ 5.6 _ 8 _ 11 _ 16 _ 22 _ 32

You can note that if you take any of the numbers above and multiply them by 1.4 (and round as needed) you will get the next aperture number to the right. This is what the math in the lecture is trying to tell you. When you half the size of an aperture hole, you multiply it by 1.41.

Hope this helps. Let me know where more questions arise.




A little bit more about apertures, shutter speeds, and ISO settings

For the Chair assignment you will need to turn in one stop manually bracketed images.  This means that you will be submitting a total of six images.  Three for each of the two scenes (objective and subjective).  Don’t use the auto bracket, I will know.  It is easy to shoot in manual, so please learn to do this correctly.Mode dial of a camera set to M for manual
Stops are just a measure of how much light is coming into your camera.Let’s think about it by looking at the size of the aperture hole in your lens.When you open up the hole in your lens one stop, you are letting in twice as much light.  When you close down one stop  you are letting in 1/2 the amount of light.  Depending on which way you adjust your lens opening, you will always be doubling or halving the amount of light that can enter your camera for every stop you move.

f/4 aperture hole
Twice as much light as f/5.6
f/5.6 aperture hole
Half as much light as f4Twice as much light as f/8
f/8 aperture hole
Half as much light as f5.6Twice as much light as f/11
f/11 aperture hole
Half as much light as f/8Twice as much light as f/16
f/16 aperture hole
Half as much light as /11
Now let’s apply this thought to actual numbers.
Go get your camera, I’ll wait………………………………..
Got it?  (Go get it!)
OK.  For now, don’t worry about the other dials, let’s just look at the aperture dial.   You should have numbers on it that look like this, but probably not all of these numbers:

f/1, 1.2, 2, 2.8, 4, 5.6, 8, 11, 16, 22, 32, 45

If you don’t know where these numbers are at on your camera, then turn it on and push the shutter button down half way to wake the camera up.  Your LCD (liquid crystal display) will light up if your camera is on.  Now gentle and slowly start turning dials until you see these numbers (along with a lot of other numbers in between – don’t worry about those now, I’ll come back to them.)Some cameras require you to hold an Av button down (see third image below) while you gently turn the dial.Do you see these numbers?  That is your aperture dial. It is telling you that you want the hole in the lens to be a specific size.

Shutter release and dial on top of camera
Some dials are on the top of camera

aperature dial on the back of a canon camera
Some dials are on the back of the camera

Av button on back of camera
Some dials require holding down to Av button to activate the aperture change

OK, set the dial so that your aperture is at f/8.

Camera LCD set at f/8 at 1/250 of a second with an ISO of 200

Now close down the aperture one stop (-1) by turning the dial to f/11.  Congratulations!  You just stopped 1/2 of the amount of light from entering your camera.

 Camera LCD set at f/11 at 1/250 of a second with an ISO of 200

OK, go back to f/8 please.

Camera LCD set at f/8 at 1/250 of a second with an ISO of 200

Now open up your aperture one stop (+1) by turning the dial to f/5.6.  Congrats again!  You have now let in twice the amount of light into your camera then f/8 and four times the amount of light than f/11…. and eight times the amount of light than f/16!

Camera LCD set at f/5.6 at 1/250 of a second with an ISO of 200

Each number listed above is one stop of light.  It either halves of doubles your light each time you turn it a full stop.
Now, let’s quickly talk about those other numbers in between.  More than likely you will have two numbers in between each stop.  They may go something like:F/8, 9, 10, 11, 13, 14, 16
Sometimes half or double the amount of light is too big of an adjustment.  In these cases, you can turn the dial to one of the numbers in between to move 1/3 of a stop.  For example:  If you were at f/8 and closed down to f/10, you would be letting in 2/3 OF A STOP less light.  Not a full stop, but 2/3s of the way there.   Same goes for opening up your exposure too, but I think  you are getting the idea now.  If not let me know!  (Oh, BTW, you will not be tested on 1/3 stops, but you will be tested on FULL STOPS – like those listed at the top.)
OK, so that is the idea of a stop.  A unit of measure that either halves or doubles the amount of light you will let into your camera when you trip the shutter.  Pretty simple.You should also know this too….

f/5.6 aperture hole
Twice as much light as f/8
f/8 aperture hole
Half as much light as f5.6Twice as much light as f/11
f/11 aperture hole
Half as much light as f/8
The shutter speed works in full stops too.  Wake up your camera again and start turning dials until you find number that look like these (with other numbers between them).

1, 2, 4, 8, 15, 30, 60, 125, 250, 500, 1000, 2000

(Depending on your camera, you may or may not have a “1/” above the bottom numbers. For example, it may say 1/2, 1/4, 1/8…)
Did you find them?  Good, this dial controls how long your shutter will be open.  It’s pretty simple – 1 second, 1/2 a second, 1/4 of a second…  Notice how I am halving the amount of time here?  That is because your shutter is based off the 1 stop idea too, which is brilliant.  Photographers are not known for their long division skills, so keeping the math easy is greatly appreciated.
Pie charts showing a second, half second, quarter second, eigth second
The extra numbers are just 1/3 of a stop control like the aperture has.
Can you start to see how these two can play with each other for exposures?  If you take away one stop with the aperture, you can increase your time one stop with the shutter’s speed.
The last thing in your camera that works off the 1 stop rule is the ISO of your camera.  It goes like this:

100, 200, 400, 800, 1600, 3200

The ISO determines how sensitive your sensor is going to be with the light you have.  800 is very sensitive and can shoot in dark areas more easily than 100.  800 also has a greater chance of noise though… but we will get into all that later.  I just wanted to let you know it was there.
One last-last thing.
Set your camera to ISO 200 at f/16 at 1/250.  If you are shooting with your subject in bright sunny light, this is a good exposure to start with.  Using your aperture only, what would this corrected exposure be?  Remember, you are opening the hole in your camera one stop………………………………………………….Camera LCD set at f/16 at 1/250 of a second with an ISO of 200
Did you get ISO 200 @ f/11 at 1/250?  If so, then you got it right. If you did not get this, go back and look how this happened.

Camera LCD showing f/11 at 1/250 with 100 ISO

When you bracket, your exposures could look like this in SB on a bright sunny day:
(Remember, Santa Barbara usually has a marine layer that is blocking 1 stop of light that reaches us.)

Camera LCD set at f/8 at 1/250 of a second with an ISO of 200

ISO 200 @ f/8 at 1/250 = 1 stop over (+1)
One stop too bright

Camera LCD showing f/11 at 1/250 with 100 ISO

ISO 200 @ f/11 at 1/250 = normal
Correct Exposure

Camera LCD set at f/16 at 1/250 of a second with an ISO of 200
ISO 200 @ f/16 at 1/250 = 1 stop under (-1)
One stop too dark
You could use the shutter to make the bracket it too – like when you are shooting images for HDR processing (you’ll have to look it up, we are not covering it in class.)
In this case, your exposure would look like what?

ISO 200 @ f/11 at 1/___ – 1 stop over (+1)

ISO 200 @ f/11 at 1/250 – normal

ISO 200 @ f/11 at 1/___ – 1 stop under (-1)
If you are more of a visual person, check out below.


Camera LCD showing f/11 at 1/250 with 100 ISO


I tried shooting manually, but my images were all black.

Hello,You mentioned on my post to be using the manual mode on my camera. I tried using it for several hours on my Canon EOS 60D, and it would not take pictures. When it did, the images were all black and I tried working with it but the problem persisted. Could you please help me resolve this issue?
Thanks for emailing me.  I would love to help you.
If you images are black, this means you are not getting enough light to your sensor.  To get more light you need to do one of three things.
  1. Open up the aperture hole in your camera lens so that it is wider.  You would move it from f/16 towards f/11 or more for f/8.
  2. Slow down your shutter speed. This means you would move from 1/125 of a second to 1/60 or even slower at 1/30.
  3. Increase your ISO setting so that it is higher.  This means you would go from 100 to 200 or even more at 400.
So now that you know you what your three options are, let’s put this information into practice.
Go get your camera and turn it on.
Next rotate the dial on the top so that it is set in the “M” mode for manual control.
Go outside during the day where it is bright or find a bright room.
Hold your shutter release 1/2 way down and look through the viewfinder.
There will be a meter that will light up at the bottom of your viewfinder.  It will look similar this one below that is telling us that it is one stop under exposed.  (See how the black line is below the number one on the negative side of the line?)
meter-1-under (1)
If you were outside, photographing something in the bright sun, you can get your meter to look like the one below by setting your exposure to ISO 100  f/16 @ 1/125 of a second.
This is called a normal exposure when the line is below the triangle.  Depending on how bright the sun is during the time of day, if there is haze or are clouds, you may have to move you aperture, shutter speed, or ISO setting to make the normally exposed image, which is fine.  You are in control, so feel free to play with it.
Once the line is in the center, click your aperture or shutter three times one direction to see how the line moves.  If it goes to left and is under the -1, then you are one stop under exposed.  Snap off a frame here.
meter-1-under (1)
Lastly move your dial six clicks in the opposite direction to let in more light and you will have your one stop overexposed shot too for the bracketing assignment.
Play around with it and let me know how this goes for you.
Just a quick test, how many stops over or underexposed is the image below?
Hope this helps,

I have a question about the Chair assignment and manual mode on my camera.


I have a question about the chair-assignment. I was trying to do it yesterday and tried to follow the instructions and use the right ISO, shutter speed and aperture. So I was able to do it. But when I changed the exposure, it automatically also changed the shutter speed to smaller number. I wasn’t able to keep the right settings. I’m wondering what I’m doing wrong.

And also another question. We need two sets of photos. The first one is just a portrait of the chair. But is that correct, that you want the other one be more creative and maybe just part of the chair. And does it have to be in a totally different setting?
Thank you.
You ask great questions, keep them coming to me.
For your challenge with your camera acting up, my guess is that your camera is set to aperture or shutter speed priority.  The dial on the top on the top should be set to “M” for full manual control.
 If you have it set to any other setting, you will not be in full control.
For your second question:  Yes, you need two sets of photos.   The first will be like a portrait of a chair.  I like to think of it as a photo you would see of the chair in a catalog.  It is going to be objective.
The second set will be your subjective group.  These will be where the image is not about the chair directly, but rather there is more of a narrative or emotional impact from the image using the chair.
You do not have to stay in the same spot for both images.  You can chose scenes that best flatter your chair for each set of images.
Hope this helps.  Let me know if you have more questions.

I have a question about the “How Slow Can You Hold” assignment

I have a question about the “How Slow Can You Hold” assignment:
My lens is 18 – 55mm, so I should keep my shutter speed at 1/60 sec, right? What if I’m using my lens at 18mm, should I still keep my shutter speed at 1/60 or should it be 1/20?

The point of the assignment was to find out how slow you can hold that lens and still keep it sharp.

 The rule of thumb is this.  You want your shutter speed to match the length of your lens or quicker.  So when you have your lens zoomed in at 55 MM, the ‘rule’ suggests you shoot at 1/60th of a second.  You may be able to shoot at 1/30 or or 1/15 or even slower.  That is what we are testing out with you.
When you have your lens zoomed all the way in to 18 MM, the rule of thumb suggests that you shoot at 1/30th of a second or quicker.  (As 1/15 of a second is so close to 18 MM, you most likely will be fine here too.)  To know if you can handhold 1/8 or 1/4 or 1/2 of a second, you have to test it.  😉
Does this make sense?

Should exposure information include aperture, shutter speed, and ISO?

I have a quick question about the exposure on the photos. I am submitting my dust photo soon  and just wanted to make sure I wrote the expose numbers that you were looking for…those are the numbers that are inside the camera lens, right? The ones that mean the ISO, expose, and aperture?

Thank you for the help,



Thank you for your question.
Yes, ISO, aperture, and shutter speed are the numbers associated with exposure and will work perfectly!
Take care,