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Approaching Photography as an Art

When learning about photographic exposure, it’s easy to get caught up in the technical aspects of shutter speeds, f-stops, and ISO. Because of all the technical vernacular, often there’s a misconception that there is a “correct” way to expose a photo. If that were the case, then all photos would look the same and photography would no longer be stimulating for our creative senses. In the video and article below, I’ll be going over how there’s no such thing as a correct exposure.

Shooting for Vision: No Such Thing as Correct Exposure | Photography 101

Same Scene, 3 Different Looks

We have our model Whitney standing on a cliff’s edge overlooking the beach. In this scene, I took three different shots at three different exposures. Our model, the balloon props, and the clouds all stay the same, the only thing that changes is the exposure.

Exposing for Silhouette

In the first shot, I exposed Whitney for a silhouette. In the image, the sky and water are at a correct exposure, but Whitney’s body falls underexposed. This gives her a body and the balloons a nice outline against the blue sky and water.

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Exposing For What Our Eyes See

This would be the most “correct” exposure. In the shot below, we have a balance between the exposure of the sky and our model Whitney. Although we’re blowing out some details in the sky, the overall image has the most details maintained.

shooting-for-artistry-no-such-thing-as-correct-exposure-1

Exposing for Bright and Airy

The last shot ignores the technical aspect of exposure and goes straight for the artistic vision of the photographer, and it’s also my favorite shot in this scene. Because of the light dress and the balloons, I wanted a look that was whimsical and light. A brighter exposure would help communicate that in this image. Although the image is not “technically” correct, it artistically fits my vision, and that’s what makes it correct.

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Photography 101