The Holy Trinity: Introduction

Ok, this post has nothing to do with religion. Although, if photography were a religion, these would be the three most important words that must be learnt and recited every day:


Shutter Speed


These three things are the triforce of power when it comes to photography and they are linked inextricably; this is the high rule.

The word Photography itself comes from the Greek words photos (ϕοτοσ) meaning “light”, and graphos (γραοσ) meaning something similar to “recording”. Photography itself is about recording light, but the way that you regulate how much or how little light is recorded is controlled through these three variables.

Similar to how you learnt about fire being controlled by temperature, fuel and oxygen, the Exposure of a shot (i.e. how dark or light it is) depends entirely on ISO, Shutter Speed and Aperture. If you change one of these factors, not only does it have an effect on the overall exposure, but each has a different Side Effect on the feel of the photo. I will discuss the Side Effects in more depth later.

The Triforce

Never forget this stupid diagram.

Print it out.

Stick it on your wall.

Go on.

Have you done it yet? Ok. Good.

Explaining these three things will take some time, and I’d like to examine each one of them seperately in different blog posts. For now, I’ll just explain (in an extremely simplified way) what happens when we take a photo. Hopefully this should give a good basis on which to further explain ISO, Aperture and Shutter Speed.

Another diagram (for reference):


Believe it or not, this is supposed to be a camera. This is what happens when you take a photo:

  1. You point the camera at an object that is reflecting light.
  2. You press the button on your camera (sometimes called the shutter).
  3. The light travels through a hole called the Aperture.
  4. The button you pressed has opened the Shutter, allowing light to pass through.
  5. The light hits the Sensor in the back of the camera.
  6. The Shutter closes.
  7. The sensor records the light and stores an image on a memory card.
Now for the three factors in a bit more depth. Let’s look at changing each one individually, while keeping the others constant. Next, let’s look at Aperture.

2 thoughts on “The Holy Trinity: Introduction

  1. Maxime

    I finally took some time to read your article. Excellent, as always. But be careful, soon I’ll take better pictures than you, hahahahahhahhahahhahhahahaha!