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Chapter 7. The Recipe for Light > The Importance of Proper Exposure

The Importance of Proper Exposure

Before I get into various lighting techniques for digital food photography, I want to impress upon you the importance of using the proper exposure. Indeed, using the proper exposure is critical to great photography. Having enough detail—especially in the highlights—is a key challenge you’ll face in digital photography. Similar to shooting photographs with slide film, shooting digitally requires that you be more precise in your exposure than with negative film. If you don’t expose the photo properly, you won’t be able to put detail back into the image without devoting an enormous amount of time and energy to retouching. Even then, the image might still not look great.

ISO Settings, f-Stops, and Shutter Speeds

The image sensor in a digital camera is what captures the light in your photograph. Adjusting the ISO (International Standardization Organization) setting can change the sensor’s sensitivity. Most cameras default to 100 ISO, which is equivalent to ISO 100 film in a film camera. With the proper exposure, the chip is exposed properly, and a photograph with the proper detail is achieved. A combination of f-stop and shutter speed is used to allow the chip to “see” the amount of light that it requires to render a proper exposure.


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