The photographic triangle represents the basis for building an image. Camera uses three permanent relationship dependent entities together :

  • The speed S (exposure time)
  • The aperture A (image depth of field)
  • ISO sensitivity (CMOS / CCD or film)

As soon as one of the triangle parameters are changed, the others are updated in connection with this change except in manual mode in which the triangle is completely free relations. Depending on the time to which belongs the photographic material used (film or sensor), we can do whatever it wants on only two or all of these parameters. If a shutter priority or aperture is active, the purpose of the photographic triangle is always to get a properly exposed image by acting on the other parameter under the influence of the measurement cell. Digital photography is a true revolution in the photographic triangle because it made the change at any time free of the ISO sensitivity. In analogic photography, one can intervene only on the speed or the aperture ; ISO sensitivity is fixed to 12, 24 or 36 shoots along the length roll of film.

Henri Cartier-Bresson (1908 - 2004) : "If there is no emotion, if there is no clash, if we do not react to the sensitivity, one should not take a picture, this is the picture that takes us." The photographic triangle represents the three technical parameters available in a camera to build a properly exposed image. Now build an image is mostly an artistic work guided by observation, emotion, framing and layout. When I learned to drive a car, I could read this adage about learning my booklet: "Knowing conduct is knowing look.". Such as driving a vehicle, properly photograph a subject is not ultimately more complicated since it is enough to observe and let stand our sensitivity in the construction of our images.

The diagram above is the result of my experience. A photograph does no take but is built. We are mostly all limited by our imagination intensity to build an image and therefore it is the entrance door of my diagram. Our imagination intensity determines the extent of our creative potential in the layout. What do we see ? What we want to show ? What message do we want to convey to others through our image ? Light is important : Is it qualitative in the composition ?

  • Choosing the lense (Focal what ? Fixed or zoom ?)
  • Our creativity guide us in the priority choice (speed or aperture) depending on whether one prefers the impact speed on the subject (suggest the motion moving subject with a slight blur or crystallize ?) or depth of field (isolate a subject with a blurred background totally or extend sharpness at the whole picture ?).

Finalize the realization of our imagination by controlling the framing :

  • Do not center the subject
  • Insert a leading
  • Respect the rule of thirds
  • Try to exclude undesirable elements
  • A bold frame ? Diving or cons-diving ?

Since 2015, I simplified my work by excluding the focal length of my process always working with my 35mm FUJIFILM X100T.

Photographic triangle




Since 1997


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