Beginners Guide: Real World Exposure Cheat Sheet

     When I first started photography, I found myself trying to move to manual mode because all the cool kids were doing it. I got my D3200 and my kit lens and sat on youtube for hours. I heard of this mysterious "Exposure Triangle" and assumed it was something far out of my reach. However, I set out on my quest to be awesome and I studied graphs on google, listened to all of the great you tubers with and without headphones, I even found an old man at the edge of a mountain to help me and then finally one day it clicked. 

     I needed something to visualize the relationships of the big three...ISO, Shutter Speed, and Aperture. I looked far and wide for a graph that accurately showed how changing one influences the image. They were scarce and I had to piece together information. After spending 3 hours making this graph for you today I realize why there aren't many out there, they are very time consuming and tedious work. 

     I hope you can take a look at this graph and see the relationships between changing one of these settings. With every change there are both good and bad outcomes depending on your image. The goal is to decide what you want the image to look like in its final form and pick the best combination of the three. Once you can do this, you are on your way to becoming a photographing ninja master guru person. 



Open Aperture=Shallower Depth of Field & More Light

Close Aperture= Deeper Depth of Field & Less Light

Increase ISO= More Light & More Noise 

Decrease ISO = Less Light & Less Noise

Increase Shutter Speed = Freeze faster motion & Less Light

Decrease Shutter Speed = More Light + More Motion Blur

All numbers can be moved in equal parts and retain exposure with different looks. We measure light in "Stops". 

For example you have perfect exposure at f4, 1/160, and ISO 400. 

You can increase the shutter speed by one stop (double = 1 stop) to 1/320. This will make it darker. 

You can now increase the ISO equally (Double = 1 Stop) to ISO 800. 

So your settings are now f4, 1/320, ISO 800. You have now frozen the image and add a little bit of noise to do so. I will get more into these when I break down each individual chart for ISO, Aperture, and Shutter Speed in a future blog. I will also be going farther into Exposure Compensation and Auto ISO settings to help with the exposure settings while in manual mode. 

Thank you so much for checking it out and be sure to subscribe below to see future blog posts and all the cool stuff I will be covering! IF you have any questions, be sure to post below in the comments or find me on my Facebook through the links below. 


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