Learn the Exposure Triangle and Histograms for Better Landscape Photography

There are three basic elements that control the exposure or overall brightness in your images: shutter speed, aperture, and ISO. But aside from controlling exposure, these camera settings also have a couple of side effects. To help understand all this, Dave Morrow comes to our rescue by teaching the exposure triangle.

ISO also controls the amount of noise in your image, shutter speed adds or subtracts from a sense of motion, and aperture controls depth-of-field.

Of course, to the trained or the professional photographer, exposure settings are at most quite basic. The funny thing is, though, that truly mastering exposure can take a long time. Dave Morrow, a full-time professional landscape photographer and teacher is here today with an 8,500-word article and an easy-to-follow instructional video explaining how understanding exposure and reading the histogram are fundamental to photography.

However, this understanding is not just for those who are just starting out. Creative choices and modern, ISO-invariant cameras can makes us wonder what exposure means from another standpoint.

So how did the exposure triangle work again? Let's let Dave Morrow do the talking in this in-depth explanation that's full of tips. With this article, everyone can start taking better pictures today.

Images used with permission by Dave Morrow.

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12 Comments

Daniel Medley's picture

Queue the "ISO is not part of exposure!" parade ...

I have quite literally never heard someone say that... and if I did I’d know they didn’t know what they were doing and I’d laugh.

Daniel Medley's picture

Read through the comments on this article: https://petapixel.com/2017/03/25/exposure-triangle-making-sense-aperture... and you'll see what I mean.

Anonymous's picture

Link clicked and I tried my best to see why these people were saying that ISO is not part of exposure but to no avail

I cannot fathom why, the ISO values arise from a base 2 logarithmic equation and affect the final exposure value inasmuch as aperture and shutter speed. There is nothing made up about that relationship
Its right there in the mathematical equations defining exposure

Daniel Medley's picture

It's all throughout the comments. Starting with a reply to the first comment: "There is a very good reason to hate the triangle. It not only confuses people but its pure nonsense. ISO is not part of exposure. ISO is only applied after the exposure. ..."

Daniel Medley's picture

I think that the idea that ISO is not part of exposure comes from an overly pedantic approach. Yes, technically speaking, ISO is not part of exposure in the sense that it's applied after exposure; as I understand it. But despite that, it is part of determining exposure.

Anonymous's picture

Well, if you put your camera into "P" mode - that is professional mode for you newbies - you don't have to worry about all this triangles nonsense

I'm going to assume this is sarcasm.

Gabrielle Colton's picture

Really good video, I need to set rules for myself because I get lost in editing. I honestly didn't know what the histograms really meant, I never used them so this is great

Marc lamey's picture

Unsure to understand why the No-Drone is a good thing .... Because the guy do not like, others should not ? So if we do not like 4*4..

It was his opinion. Yours is different. That's all.

Marc lamey's picture

Unsure to understand why the No-Drone is a good thing .... Because the guy do not like, others should not ? So if we do not like 4*4..