Introduction: Photo Exposure Made Easy, Sunny 16 Rule and MORE !

Hey guys,

If you are a beginner in photography, or even if you are an expert, sometimes you need some help to get the perfect exposure for your photos !

of course your camera has a really powerful chip and a metering system, but sometimes, it fails to choose what is best for your image.

Exposure is a combination of aperture, shutter speed and sensibility (ISO), getting the best possible setting will result in having the best image possible !

In this instructable, I will go through the sunny 16 rule and I will introduce this exposure mat that will help you get the best exposure for your shot in any situation ! and get your photography to the NEXT LEVEL !

what do you need ?

- a camera where you can set your settings manually, M mode. doesn't have to be an expensive DSLR ( it is better, but not needed), many hybrids and even point and shot camera have a manual mode nowadays.

- a printer and some paper.

- be willing to take your photography to the next level.

let's get started.

Step 1: What Is the Sunny F/16 Rule ?!

what is it ?

The sunny 16 rule is a method photographers use to get the correct exposure on their pictures without using a battery powered light metering system.

When taking pictures, you don't want some areas of your photo to be too dark, or too bright, you want a nice and even picture, for those familiar with this words "you want a nice and spread out histogram" for your photo. so you know you captures the maximum information.

if you follow this rule, on sunny days, you should get perfectly lit shots ! it will take your photography to the next level !

it says:

- on a sunny day,

- set your aperture on f/16

- set your shutter speed on 1/100

- set your ISO to 100

now take your shot ! you should get the best exposure ever if you follow this rule ! better than if you had followed your camera settings.

why is it better than your camera mettering ?

camera metering systems adapt their settings according to the reflected light in the area you are trying to to take a photo of, whereas this sunny 16 rule is based on the incident light, the actual light coming in the scene. this is why you should get better results.

Seriously ! go and try it ! it is soooo simple ! you will not believe how better are the results !


in the two images above, I used the sunny 16 rule an my camera settings. there has been absolutely no retouching. okay it not so much of a nice photo, but it is just to illustrate the rule ;)

- we can see at the first glance that the sunny 16 one is much better exposed ! with nice light in the fields, the trees and the sky.

- on the camera auto mode one, the colors don't pop, the trees at the background are too dark, the sky is not as bright as it should be...

so of course you can get the auto exposed back on post processing with a software like lightroom or photoshop, but it is much easier to get it right on the first place ;)

Can we go even further ?!

yes ! just go to the next step ad try the exposure made easy card i enclosed in this instructable to get the best result in any situation !

Step 2: Using the Easy Exposure Card in Any Situation

The sunny 16 rule can be applied to more than just sunny days.

but it become a little bit complicated to calculate by head, so I am sharing my exposure mat here,

it's easy :

just print it out, I recommend using a heavy paper, for more convenience, but any paper will do.

cut it out,

glue where it says to glue,

insert the card inside the holder

How to Use :

slide the card up and down and make the arrows match your actual light and environment conditions

you will get the recommended shutter speed, ISO and aperture (F/) matching your weather or environment !

It is really easy to use and will definitely make your photographs better exposed.

now as always in photography, this is a rule and you should really consider breaking it from time to time !

sometimes you will want only a part of your image correctly exposed, or you will want a shallower depth of field or who know what idea you will get ? so this rule work all the time except when you want something really particular, so don't be afraid of breaking it ;)

now go out and shoot !

hope you enjoyed this instructable !

Photography Tips and Tricks Contest

Participated in the
Photography Tips and Tricks Contest