Exposure and Color

Base Exposure

The two photos in this post illustrate are different by one F-Stop.

Base Exposure - F/22 1 second ISO 100
75 mm macro lens, F/22, 1 second at ISO 100
This is a freshly germinated lupine flower shot by our Sony A55 camera. The lens I used was my old 50 mm macro lens and is effectively a 75 mm macro lens. The exposure used is:

  • ISO: 100
  • Aperture: F/22
  • Shutter speed: 1 second.

. Now, the camera was on my Benbo tripod.

+1 F/Stop

Now, let us compare another photo:

ISO 100, F/22, 2 Seconds
75 mm macro lens, F/22, 2 seconds at ISO 100

Here is the exact same shot as above, but this time I increased the exposure by +1 F/Stop. Notice the difference?

The exposure used is:

  • ISO: 100
  • Aperture: F/22
  • Shutter speed: 2 seconds

Actually, the difference is somewhat subtle, but look at the right leaf, specifically look at the upper center part of that right leaf. Notice the part where the green seems a bit darker than the rest of the leaf and focus on that spot between the two photographs. That section you can see the green is a touch darker more “green” in the upper photograph than it is in the lower.

Double the Light

+/- 1 F/Stop means doubling the light (+1) or halving the light (-1) allowed to fall on the photographic plane. In this case, I doubled the light by doubling the shutter speed and the difference is subtle but present.

Exposure and Color

In general, the more light allowed in the more washed out colors become and that is what you can notice the fact that in the lower photo the green is more washed out.

Also, look at the little white stones, the stone in the upper photo does not appear as white as the stone in the lower photo. So, the exposure not only allows the light in so we can see the subject, but also plays a major factor in the colors in your photo.

Now, Go and Do Likewise!

Now, you go out and take set of similar photos and study the differences and how shutter speed (make sure your ISO and aperture stay the same) affect your photos!

Good Stuff!


  1. Yeah and fortunately most of the time there is plenty of light for snow photography to freeze action. However, then you have to make certain your exposure is set correctly to render color properly. If you find a bright patch of snow and attempt to take a picture of the dazzling white snow, you will have to overexpose, because the camera will underexpose that shot.

    I am in the middle of a real busy patch at work, and am not getting a lot of time to post, hoping the upcoming software deploy goes well and I can fully transition to the new project which will be a lot less pressure, at least until that project deploys. I am currently off of video production and on WiSki map work.


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