Controlling Exposures with Apertures and Shutter Speeds

Aperture and shutter speed settings work together. Each approximately halves or doubles the light reaching the light-sensitive surface. Because they work in tandem, it's possible to get the same exposure with a number of different settings, like the combinations in the following table:

Approximately the Same Exposure

If your camera has automatic overrides for shutter speed and aperture control, you'll probably be able to see how these factors work together. Set your camera for either aperture priority or shutter priority mode. Then manually adjust one or the other, depending on the mode you chose — if your camera is in aperture priority, adjust the aperture (f-stop); if it's in shutter priority, adjust the shutter. As you move through the settings for the priority mode you've chosen, you'll see the factors for the other change as well in your indicator window. More open aperture settings (such as f/2.0) will show higher shutter settings and vice versa.

Experimenting Will Help

If this all still seems a little confusing to you, try reading the instructions with the camera right in front of you and following along. You will better understand the relationship between shutter speed and aperture size when you have a practical example right in front of you. Try firing off a few test shots at the aperture and shutter settings listed above, then develop the film or upload your files to your computer to see how manipulating shutter and aperture change the actual photo.

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