The Exposure Triangle

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When I first bought my DSLR camera, I was so pumped.

I thought it was like, my frikkin key to the youtube kingdom. Like – once you have a DSLR, you’re in. Right? Wrong. Incorrect. Not true. False.

I switched my new camera to record. Australian sunshine pouring in to the window. And somehow, filmed a video that looked like I had filmed it at night with an old school phone.

So today, we’re going to help you avoid that, with the exposure triangle.

So, what is the exposure triangle? It’s a combination of ISO, Aperture and Shutter Speed.





We’ll start with ISO.

The ISO number on your camera represents how sensitive your camera is to light.

The higher the number, the more sensitive your camera will be – and the more grainy your video will look.

So in this image, the ISO is the highest it can be on my DSLR on the left. On the right, I’m at an ISO of 100. Zoomed in, it looks like this.

In general, keep your ISO down as much as possible depending on your light situation. I film indoors, with good lighting, and try to keep mine at 100 – sometimes I’ll go to 200. You can compensate for your low ISO with your aperture, and your shutter speed.

Next up,


Aperture is how much light you’re actually letting in to your lens. It’s all about that depth of field.

So if you want to get that blurred background look, you need to take control of your aperture.

Apertures measured in f-stops, so those are the f1.8, f5.6 numbers you see on your camera. While you’d think the higher the number, the more light that gets let in – that’s not the case. It’s the lower the f stop, the more light that’s let in through your lens.

To get a super blurry background, you want a lower aperture number – which means more light is let in.

To keep everything more crisp, you want a higher aperture setting – which means less light is let in.

Like this.

Now for –


This is all about how long your shutter opens.

Shutter speed numbers are representative of a fraction of a second.

So if your shutter will be open for 1/60th of a second, that allows enough time to capture movement or motion blur.  It’ll also capture more light and make your video lighter.

1/250th is a shorter time for your shutter to be open, so you’d get a crisper shot and less motion blur.

The shorter time frame you let your shutter  open, the darker.

So now you have a good overview of what ISO, Aperture and Shutter Speed is.

Keep in mind that all three functions should  be balanced to make your lighting fabulous.


Take Action

Muck around with different exposure settings and different lighting – find what works for you and suits your aesthetic.




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