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Mastering Your Digital Camera

Lesson 15 of 51

Too Little or Too Much Light

Chris Weston

Mastering Your Digital Camera

Chris Weston

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Lesson Info

15. Too Little or Too Much Light
What happens if the scene has too much light or too little light? In this lesson, Chris walks through the different options when the settings you want just don't work for the scene in front of you.


Lesson Info

Too Little or Too Much Light

What do you want, my boy? And what you get to two different things. What my dad used to say. And he wasn't talking about photography, although he might well have been. Because when it comes to too much light or too little light exposure settings you want on the exposure settings you get aren't always the same thing. Now you can adjust. I s o putting it up when there's too little light taking it down. When there's too much, there's a limit to what I s Okun do. And when you reach those limits, well, then you just have to make a decision. This is my scene. My main subject is a waterfall. My foreground interested the ferns over here on the left hand side. Now what I really want to do is capture the detail of the water that tumbles over that waterfall. So my dominant variables shutter speed. I need a fast shutter speed to freeze the movement, but at the same time, I don't want these firms to be fuzzy, so I need depth of field. That means I also need a narrow aperture. The problem I have is ...

that my light meter is telling me. I don't have enough light toe have a far shutter speed on the narrow aperture. So what do I do? Well, I have a number of solutions. The 1st 1 is to pick my dominant variable now, because tumbling water is my main thing here. I'm going to choose a far shutter. Speed is my dominant variable. And this is the image I get now captured the detail in the water. But if you look on the left inside, those ferns are all out of focus on that fuzziness is really bothering me. So my second option is to change my dominant variable. I can choose aperture over shutter speed, depth of field, over details. And if I do that, this is a photograph I get Now here. What we can see is that I've now got depth of field from the firm's all the way through to the waterfall. Their sharpness from foreground to background for the water tumbling over the waterfall has now become more like a veil. And while that pictures really nice is not actually what I wanted Option three is I can change my composition. I can pick up my tripod, move around until I find an angle where depth of field is no longer important. Now we don't have to worry about lens. Aperture and Aiken set shutter speed to get the image I want of the fast tumbling water as it comes over the waterfall. But this is a trade off. If I'm not prepared to compromise. If I'm fixed on detail in the water, on depth of field, my only recourse is to come back on a better day when the light is right.

Class Description


  • Set up your camera with confidence
  • Better understand shutter speed, aperture, and ISO
  • Capture perfect exposures in camera
  • Get sharp, focused images quickly
  • Understand white balance and the difference between RAW and JPEG
  • Quickly and confidently capture images “in the moment”
  • Become a better photographer by building an understanding of basic photography techniques


CreativeLive is partnering with Chris Weston to offer you his Complete Photography Master Course.

Turn terms like aperture, shutter speed and ISO from a bunch of obscure photography jargon to a toolset that you can easily manipulate to capture great photos. Led by landscape photographer Chris Weston, this class covers everything beginners need to know to master photography basics from exposure to focus.

Turn that camera dial off of auto and learn how to properly expose a photograph. With a few basic camera settings, get the most image quality and the best colors from your mirrorless or DSLR camera. Then, master focus modes and techniques for sharp photographs.

Learn the basics of photography in a series of short, memorable lessons. Chris' straight-forward teaching style is great for newbies that find the task of learning photography daunting, while the to-the-point lessons make it possible to spend just a few minutes a day mastering your camera with easy photography tips and techniques.


  • Beginner photographers
  • First time DSLR or mirrorless camera users
  • Any photographer that wants to get off automatic mode to shoot better photos


Named one of the world's most influential wildlife photographers, Chris Weston takes a contemporary approach to photography. After launching his career in 2001, the Fujifilm ambassador's images have graced the pages of top publications like BBC, The Times, Outdoor Photography, Practical Photography, and Digital Photography. As a photography educator, Chris has written over 20 photography books, along with leading photo tours and online workshops.


mark jacobson

What a marvelous course! What a marvelous teacher! When I went to college, my father would always ask me about my professors, more than the courses themselves. He was passionate about learning and although too busy with earning an income to go beyond an undergrad degree, continued to read 50 books a year. I still remember how he'd get almost visibly excited when I'd tell him about some special professor who taught with such enthusiasm and, more than just passion, evident delight and joy in the subject. 'Ah they're the best, son. How wonderful you have such a teacher." Well, he passed away decades ago but if he were still around I'd get a kick out of telling him about Chris Weston, the 'Prof' of this course. He's one of the very special ones: a teacher who's loved and lived his vocation--his avocation--since he was a boy--and still is as excited about it now as he was then. The result: a course that seems to be more a labor of love--of pouring far more energy and thought into the details then one typically finds in these courses--than anything else. Bravo Chris! I'm already on to your next one.


Chris is an amazing instructor who dissects theory giving amazing analogies that bring concepts to life. I have rarely been able to sit through most video course for more than a half-hour but watched this one from beginning to end. A good refresher course if you've been away from the camera for awhile or there are some concepts that still illude you. I highly recommend this course and look forward to watching his others. Thank you for the clarity and great explanations.

Sky Bergman

This was an amazing class. I have looked at a number of basic photography classes. This one was by far the best I have seen. Chris is an exceptional teacher. He breaks things down into digestible information and then inspires you to be creative. Thank you!