Portland, ME Photographer :: The Exposure Triangle

Last Friday, I wrote a post about three things I do for good exposure. This blog post is going to talk about three functions of the camera that can impact exposure. It’s all about the exposure triangle today!!

There are three aspects to the exposure triangle: ISO, aperture, and the shutter. Before I talk about how these three things can work together to really get you that awesome exposure, I’m going to break them down for you.


ISO is how sensitive the sensor, in your camera, is to light. If you have your camera set on a low ISO, you have low sensitivity (which is a finer photo). If you have your camera set to a high ISO, you have a high sensitivity to light (which equals more “noise,” also known as “grain.”). Basically, think of ISO as how much light you are letting into your camera – low ISO, less light; high ISO, more light.

The photo on the left has a high ISO (6400), and the photo on the right has a low ISO (200).



Aperture is how big the opening of your lens is. The way I think of it, is how much are you trying to focus on? Aperture is usually referred to as the f-stop. It’s the part of your camera where you see f/number. The logic behind aperture feels backwards, but once you get use to it, it becomes natural to think about. If you have a large aperture, the f-stop is a really small number (1/1.4, 1/1.8, 1/3.5, etc). If you have a small aperture, you have a high number for the f-stop (1/8, 1/11, 1/22, etc.).

Aperture is also related to depth of field (DOF). DOF  is how much of your photo is in focus. How does relate to aperture? Well, if you have a small depth of field (less focus), you have a small f-stop. If want a large depth of field (more focus), you have a high f-stop. Remember, small f-stop means a large aperture, and a high f-stop means you have small aperture.

Here are two photos to help demonstrate:


Photo on the left is shot at f/1.8, and the photo on the right is shot at f/11.


The shutter speed is how long your shutter is open and is measured in seconds. A slow shutter speed can result in more light and potentially more blur due to hand shake. A high shutter speed can result in the opposite.

Photo on the left has a shutter speed of 1″, and photo on the left has a shutter speed of 1/60.


How do these work together?

Essentially, you can’t change one of these three elements without impacting the other two. If you change your shutter speed to a really fast speed, then your photo may be too dark, so you may want to up your ISO, and lower your aperture. If you are shooting in manual, you have complete control of all three of these elements. If you are shooting in aperture priority mode, then you only have control over the aperture, and the camera adjusts the other two accordingly. The same with shutter priority. If you only have control over the shutter speed, the camera will adjust the other two.

My biggest suggestion is to play around in shutter and aperture priority modes, just so you can see how all three of them relate and change based on the other settings. It’s neat to figure out on your camera.

Here are a few quick tips to try out in different situations:

– If you’re shooting in a dark room, increase your ISO.

– If you’re shooting in a really bright situation, crank up your shutter speed and lower your ISO, so that it doesn’t blow out your photo.

– I really like having a small depth of field, so I shoot at f/1.8 or f/2. For every person you add into a frame, you want to increase your aperture by one stop for each person. Typically, I’ll shoot at f/3.5 for three people or more. It’s also important to place your focus point on the person closest to you, because the camera can create focus behind that point, but not in front of it.

– You’re in a dark room, but don’t want to increase your ISO? Get out a tripod, and use a slow shutter speed, and a small f-stop.


Portland, ME Photographer :: 3 Tips for Good Exposure :: Linda Barry Photography

I would just like to start this post off by saying that I am no means an expert on exposure. However, these are three things that I keep in mind each time that help me get on the path to good exposure. I work super hard to get everything right IN the camera, so that when I go to do any post-processing, I can actually be super efficient with my time and editing!

#1. Compose the shot in your mind.

This first step is really important to me. If I don’t know what I want to get for a shot, how do I know that it’s what I want, when I see it? Knowing before you take the shot what you want to be dark and light, or even, in the end result can go really far in helping you determine what is the proper exposure for you. Also take into consideration your surroundings. Are you in a dark room with little natural light? You may have to bump up your ISO to allow that extra light onto your sensor. Are you on the beach? It’ll probably be a good idea to bump up your shutter speed so that you don’t have a washed out photo. Having a good understanding of aperture, shutter speed, and ISO is pretty essential to producing photos that you really like, in a technical sense 🙂

#2. Look at the histogram.

Histograms are those little spiky graphs that come up when you pull up the information on a photo you just took. Don’t ignore those. Well, you can, obviously. But if you want to have a balanced photo those can be super helpful! I only just started to pay attention to the histograms just a few weeks ago! I had always heard about them, but never really saw the benefit.

exposure, histogram, Portland Wedding Photographer

Now, I get it. I absolutely love checking it to see if my photo is balanced.  In the above photo, the histogram is the little graph thing next to the photo. They say that it’s good exposure if most of the spikes are located in the center and then level off as you go to the edges. So in my histogram, the exposure is pretty good, there are some light spots in the area according to the big spike on the far right, but overall, I’m happy with it. There’s a nice range of tones. I promise, the actual photo looks much better in real life, than on the back of that screen.


See? 🙂 I promise that this photo is straight out of camera! Just had to convert it to a JPEG.

For those who don’t know much about histograms check out this article from Digital Photography School. They do a great job explaining it. Also, this is a GREAT resource if you don’t already know about it! I could spend hours on this site just reading through all of the amazing information they have there!

#3. Use the light meter on your camera.

I absolutely love this feature on both of my cameras. It helps me to determine where my shutter speed should be to help get that balanced photo I strive for. However, it’s not always correct. It doesn’t know what I want the photo to look like, so I definitely adjust it if it’s still not bright or dark enough for my desires 🙂

Basically, you’ll see that bar across your screen (or across the top screen if you’re using a full frame camera) that looks something like this:                              + ——— 0 ——- (-).  I usually try to get the bars to line up right under that “0.” What you’re changing when you do that is your shutter speed. So depending on the light you’re in, you could end up with a really slow shutter or a really fast shutter. It’s variable.

tips for good exposure, exposure, light meter

The light meter is that little set of bars right under the f/stop and the shutter speed.

These are just a few tips that I use that I thought may be helpful to some of you! If you already use these, then that’s fabulous! Learning about my camera is a never-ending process for me, and I crave new knowledge 🙂

Do you have any exposure tips for ME? 🙂

Portland ME Wedding Photographer ; Tips for your wedding day ; Linda Barry Photography

I was a bride once. I get it! Planning a wedding can be super stressful, and you want everything to be absolutely perfect! I had no idea how to plan a wedding, and no idea how I was going to get everything done in just three months. Here is what I did know – I wanted beautiful photographs that would capture every moment of my day.


My wedding photos are easily one of my most prized possessions! This photo ^^ right there, is a photo of me getting ready on my wedding day. My photographer (I’ll actually be teaming up with her this year for weddings!) did a phenomenal job during our wedding, and I often look back at them and get all emotional, haha. I made sure that on my wedding day there was enough time to get photos of each part of the day.

Portland ME Wedding Photographer

Your wedding photographs are going to tell the story of your day, and even just a year later when the details are fuzzy, your photos are going to take you back and make your day come alive again. If wedding photographs are important to you, and you want gorgeous photos like you see when you’re searching for wedding ideas on Pinterest, it’s really important that you allow enough time  to do so!

Here are some tips to keep in mind when you’re planning out your wedding day:

Where are you getting ready?

I cannot encourage you enough to get ready with your ladies (and the groom and the groomsmen) in a room that has a lot of natural light! The more windows, the better! Indoor lighting can be really icky, and natural light just adds so much to a photo! I think it highlights all the smiles, tears, nerves, and emotions that come with getting ready to say “I do!” Do you want photos of the groom and groomsmen getting ready? Are there any first looks taking place with family members here?

wedding day tips, Linda Barry Photography, Portland ME Wedding Photographer

Do you want a first look?

A first look is when I arrange a very private, intimate, time for the bride and groom to see each other for the first time before the wedding. The emotions are incredible, and we can get started with the bride and groom photos before the ceremony, as well as all the bridal party photos! I can say with confidence, that this does not take away from the “first look” during the ceremony. If you do not want a first lookthat is OKAY!!! This is YOUR day and it’s important that you get what you want out of it! Don’t let any photographer bully you into doing a first look for the sake of time, because being happy is what is most important on your wedding day. But really, think about it. After all, this day is about the two of you, and in just a year or two, you’re going to want to see those photos of you two more than any other photos.

How much time have you set aside for the formal photos after the ceremony?

It’s really important that you set aside an hour after the ceremony for the formal portraits of the families and bridal party. The most important part of this hour is the time we get to spend capturing the snuggles, kisses, and excitement between the two of you as a newly married couple. Again, if you want those gorgeous, intimate, love photos that you see when you’re surfing on the internet, it’s important that you set aside some time!

What is most important to you?

What are the most important things that you want to get out of your wedding day? Is it the photos? Time with your family?

I know there is a lot more to think about when it comes to planning a wedding, especially with thinking about all the things you need to do for THE day, but these are just some pointers to get you started and headed in a good direction!

For all the brides that I take care of, we set up a consultation meeting about two weeks to a month before your wedding that really gets into the details about what is important for you on your day. We set up a schedule for the day based on your needs and priorities (and make sure we know when everything is happening, and where it all goes down!), that way we get everything you want on one of the biggest days of your life! You are in good hands when you book with me 🙂

Tips for your engagement session; Linda Barry Photography; Portland ME Wedding Photographer

First off, if you’re reading this and newly engaged – Congratulations!! It is such an exciting time in your life to be engaged to the person of your dreams! Not to mention, we all enjoy some new fabulous jewelry to show off 😉

My goal with this post is to provide some tips to help you get ready for your upcoming engagement session so that you walk away from your session completely satisfied – and happy!!!

What to wear??

I get asked this question quite a bit, so check out this blog post that will tell you all that you need to know!


Make it true

When we are working together, my number one priority is to capture your love, not someone else’s idea of what love should look like. If you want to use props, that’s great! However, choose props that have special meaning to you and your fiance, so that we can tell your story together, and share it with the world. Make it true to the two of you!! Don’t get caught up in bringing all kinds of cute things you found online, but you don’t really know why you’re using them. This is your time to make it all about your love!!


It’s not always about location

Sure, having an engagement session at a really cool location can make for some super neat photos, but sometimes simple is better. Again, we’re showcasing your love, and not necessarily the cool building that you’re leaning against. To go along with making it true, choose a location that has sentimental value to the both of you! Was it where you had your first date? Where he proposed? Where you go to get away together? Do you both love hiking? Or maybe you love the beach? Try to think of places that will really showcase the two of you and your personalities. If you need help thinking of a location, I am always more than willing to help with that!!


Look up ideas

This may sound like the complete opposite of what I’ve just been saying, but it can be a good idea to look up engagement photos, so that way you can figure out why you like them, so that we can incorporate that into your photos. Do you like the serious photos? What about the ones where one person is whispering sweet nothings into the other’s ear? The sweet kisses? Being swept off your feet? It’s important to have an idea what YOU want to get out of your photos, so that I can help you both get the absolute most possible out of your session!

Why should we have engagement photos done?

Having an engagement session with your wedding photographer is super important, because it helps you all get familiar with each other, and able to know what works and doesn’t work. This way, on one of the most important days of your life, you have no worries that your photographer will capture exactly what you want, and you know you can trust him or her. Having an engagement session is the first step in building that essential trust needed for your big day!!

❤ Linda