Exposure Control in Digital Photography

An Interview with a Pro Photographer

by Jim Miotke

Lemon and fizzies
Lemon and fizzies
© Bryan F. Peterson
All Rights Reserved

With Exposure Control in Digital Photography, It's A Different Messenger, Same Message

Jim Miotke: Your book, Understanding Exposure, is a bestseller and a favorite of photographers around the globe. What do you attribute to the success of the book?

Bryan F. Peterson: It is successful because it simplifies a highly technical issue. I mean, I go out of my way to make these concepts easy to grasp. I compare ISO to worker bees and aperture to kitchen faucets. I'll be the first to admit that it bothers highly scientific types. To think that ISO has something to do with worker bees!

Also, Understanding Exposure surprises a lot a people with this basic truth: the messenger may have changed but the message is the same. Even though you may not be shooting film anymore, the same principles of aperture, speed and ISO still apply.

Why Exposure Control in Digital Photography Seems Easier

JM: Is exposure easier with a digital camera?

BFP: Many people wrongly think that digital exposure is easier than when using a film camera. They think that digital cameras take better exposures, that digital deserves the credit for making it easier to get good exposures. That's bogus. The truth of the matter is that, yes, exposure is easier than it used to be. But this is because light meters have greatly improved, PLUS with the addition the monitor, photographers can see if they "blew it" right away. With most subjects, they can correct the mistake right then and there. However, keep in mind, I am talking about correcting an exposure, NOT getting the most "creatively correct exposure" - e.g. "just because the image is overexposed or underexposed doesn't mean that the corrected exposure will be the most creative exposure.

So, again, the messenger has changed but not the document. The same rules surrounding aperture, speed, and ISO govern exposure.

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About Author / Instructor / Photographer, Jim Miotke
Photography Instructor: Jim Miotke