Exposure Tips

For basic exposure, when you haven’t got access to a light meter, the sunny 16 rule has served many photographers well over the years. Quite simply, the premise is, set your shutter speed to roughly the same as the ISO of the film you’re using (100 ISO film = 1/125; 200 ISO = 1/250th, and so on). In bright sunshine, the approximate aperture value would be f16, with wider apertures (smaller f numbers) the duller the day. So on an overcast afternoon in spring, on 400 ISO film, an aproximate exposure might be around the f8 at 1/500 mark. Cynical? Set a digital camera up manually and try it, you’ll be surprised at how accurate it is. Sure, it’s unnecessary if you shoot digital, but this blog is primarily about film, and when there’s a wonderful scene in front of you and your meter’s packed in, this way’s closer than an outright guess (plus, you’ll tend to find that over time, your outright guesses become pretty accurate themselves. Photography is about more than creating pictures, it’s about learning how to look at light and use it to your own advantage.)

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