Module 3: The Camera & Exposure

0 Posted by - June 5, 2014 - Courses, Photography Appreciation
Richard Avedon, Veruschka, dress by Kimberly, New York, 1967

Richard Avedon, Veruschka, dress by Kimberly, New York, 1967

In this module, we begin our study of photography as a technical art, and prepare you to create your own photographs in the next module.

All photographs are a combination of technical and creative skill. In many ways, the ease of automatic digital exposure has obscured the technical element from beginning photographers. But the elements of exposure are like paint brushes, the setting you choose for each element determines the look of part of the photograph. As you’ll learn, each exposure control has a corresponding aesthetic control, and the photographer chooses the combination of exposure settings that produce the desired exposure and aesthetic qualities.

Each exposure control has a corresponding aesthetic control.

There are three primary elements of photographic exposure: Aperture, Shutter Speed, and ISO. Collectively, they are called the Exposure Triangle. For exposure, think of each side of the triangle as a variable in an equation: a + b + c = E (correct exposure). The photographer can choose any combination of numbers that equal E, and they choose those that produce the desired aesthetic and creative result.

Question: What exposure decisions do you see in the photographs in this introduction? In the comments below, explain a decision and how it affects the look of one of the images.

Module Content

With these concepts in mind, please read and view the following module content:

The Ultimate Beginner’s Introduction to Exposure – Photography 101

The Photographer’s Vision, pp. 137 – 155

Featured Photographer: Paul Strand

Paul Strand, Young Boy, Gondeville, Charente, France, 1951

Paul Strand, Young Boy, Gondeville, Charente, France, 1951

Paul Strand was considered a technical master of photography. He worked with early large format cameras and was known for his precise attention to detail in his exposure and photographic prints. Read links about the photographer and his work here. As you consider Strand’s work, think about the technical and creative choices he had to make to produce the photographs.


After you read the Featured Photographer links, research photographs by Paul Strand. Then find and add your favorite photograph by the photographer to the Dropmark collection. Write a photographic analysis of the photograph that explains why it is an effective and masterful work in terms of photographic exposure. Identify something from this module’s content that you see in the photograph and explain how it is effective. Use terms and concepts from the course in your analysis. Full Directions

Discussion Topic

After you read and watch the material from this module, you should have a basic understanding of how the camera is used to make photographic images. To apply this information, please explain each of these controls and how they are used to produce a photograph. Cite information from the reading and videos.
1. Aperture
2. Shutter Speed
3. ISO

Full Directions

Top Image: Fan Ho, Construction, 1957