EXPLORE CREATIVE EXPOSURE
Change your shutter speed for eye-grabbing variations in detail and brightness
Exposure is arguably the most important consideration in the photographic process, since the amount of light reaching the camera’s sensor directly influences all image characteristics, including brightness, detail and colour. Regarding brightness, the intensity and position of light sources within the frame is of utmost relevance, as this controls where viewers first look within the composition. While correctly using this device is a basic photographic skill, extra care must be taken when attempting creative techniques. It is easy for the photographer to become preoccupied with their artistic intent, thereby forgetting the implications for baseline composition and image quality.
The relationship between exposure and colour is another often overlooked factor and must be acknowledged when altering either component, if a predictable result can be achieved. This symbiosis can either make or break a creative attempt – a mismatch can produce an uncomfortable contradiction of atmosphere, while exploiting the alignment of brightness and tone to meet or oppose viewer expectation can produce surprising and engaging photographs. The professional strategy for ensuring quality results is to first work at setting up a ‘correct’ balance – for example matching white balance to the ambient lighting in the scene and calculating a centred exposure – then deciding how to adjust this balance for greater drama. This approach can be applied to any creative photographic technique, as the first step helps protect against common beginner mistakes and guarantee quality continuity throughout your portfolio.
A popular creative method is to experiment with different combinations of each aspect. Try mixing various shutter speed effects with brightness or colour temperature, to see how this alters the atmosphere of the scene, or alternatively combine varying white balance settings with both bright and darker exposures. By finely tuning the interplay of each character of the scene, it is possible to simulate natural lighting conditions in novel scenarios, for a unique style. Regardless of which technique you decide on, the next professional step is to assess the necessary strength of the effects in use, even if this is a simple choice of shutter speed, for longexposure blurring. Vitally, the strongest effects are not always the most impactful and overuse can actually impede the extent to which an image meets your creative expectations.