Exposure Triangle and Composition

Exposure Triangle

Shutter Speed

  • Shutter speed is how fast the lense snaps a picture.
  • For an action photo you need a fast shutter speed to stop the motion. One two thousandth of a second is a fast shutter speed for a dslr.
  • Bulb shutter is where the lense stays open; this is the slowest shutter speed.

Action shot bad example: shutter speed = 1/8 s

Action shot good example: shutter speed = 1/1600 s

Aperture/Depth of Field

  • Aperture is the measure of how big the opening is that lets the light in.
  • Another word for aperture is depth of field which is how much is in focus.
  • The bigger the lense is open, the deeper the depth of field is. F22 is a deep depth of field, therefore the main object and the background is in focus.
  • A shallow depth of field is F1.8. Using a smaller aperture/shallow depth of field can bring your attention to the main object of the photo and blur out the distracting background which can make your photo look way better.



  • ISO is the measure of how sensitive the sensor is.
  • Another word for ISO is grain.
  • The higher the ISO, the more grainy the photo is.
  • The lower the ISO, the picture is smoother.

ISO 1600

ISO 100


Rule of Thirds

  • Divide a photo into 9 equal sections by cutting the photo with 2 vertical lines and 2 horizontal lines.
  • Place the main object of your photo on one of the vertical or horizontal lines.
  • This places the main object a little off-center which makes your photo more interesting.


  • Very important to the composition of a photo.
  • Shooting from eye level can make your photo ordinary and boring
  • Shooting from different angles like below, above, or close up makes your photo look more interesting.


  • Add depth to give a 3rd dimensional look to your photo.
  • Foreground,middle-ground, background.

Leading Lines

  • Our eye naturally follows lines in a photo
  • A photo with leading lines leads us on a "journey" because the lines are going somewhere in the photo.
  • Control where viewers eyes are drawn when looking at your photo.
  • Diagonal lines, parallel lines, zigzag lines, 1 point perspective lines, etc.
  • Enhances composition of a photo.

Fill the Frame

  • Don't leave a bunch of empty space in your photo (this is a common compositional mistake).
  • Zoom in more to fill the frame with the main object


  • Balance a photo so that there is not an object on one side and a big empty space on the other side.
  • Include objects of lesser importance with the main object to balance the photo.


  • A loud background can distract your eyes from the main object of the picture.
  • Take a picture with a solid colored background.
  • Blur out the background by changing the aperture.


  • Use natural objects like leaves, fences, archways etc. to frame your picture.
  • Draws your attention into the main interest of the photo and away from the outside world.

Rule of odds

  • Take a picture with an odd number of objects in it.
  • It makes your photo look more interesting.
  • An odd number of objects frames the center of the picture.

Space to move

  • Don't take a picture with the main object or person walking out of the photo.
  • Give your photo a "future" by leaving space in front of the object so the object has space to move into the photo.
  • When we look at a photo we follow the gaze of the person or follow the direction on object is pointed.
  • Always leave more space ahead of a photo than behind it.