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Aspects of exposure


In this 5-day lesson, students will research an aspect of exposure.  They will learn about that aspect and prepare a 30-minute presentation that includes explanations, examples and activities in order to teach the rest of the class about that exposure aspect.  (The presentations will be paired with practice activities so that students can solidify their knowledge and understanding of these exposure aspects; these presentations and practice activities are included in the next lesson in the module, which will take around 12 class periods to complete)

There is also a middle school version of this lesson.


  • Students will learn factual information about different exposure techniques, including aperture, ISO, metering, shutter speed, flash, and white balance.
  • Students will prepare a multimedia presentation that includes explanations, examples and activities about an exposure aspect.
  • Students will gather information from a variety of sources to inform their decisions about the presentations.
  • Students will collaborate with other students.

Common Core State Standards

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.IT.9-10.7 Analyze various accounts of a subject told in different mediums (e.g., a person’s life story in both print and multimedia), determining which details are emphasized in each account.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.7 Conduct short as well as more sustained research projects to answer a question (including a self-generated question) or solve a problem; narrow or broaden the inquiry when appropriate; synthesize multiple sources on the subject, demonstrating understanding of the subject under investigation.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.9-10.2 Integrate multiple sources of information presented in diverse media or formats (e.g., visually, quantitatively, orally) evaluating the credibility and accuracy of each source.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.9-10.4 Present information, findings, and supporting evidence clearly, concisely, and logically such that listeners can follow the line of reasoning and the organization, development, substance, and style are appropriate to purpose, audience, and task.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.9-10.5 Make strategic use of digital media (e.g., textual, graphical, audio, visual, and interactive elements) in presentations to enhance understanding of findings, reasoning, and evidence and to add interest.


Five 45-minute lessons

Note: To conserve time substantially, this lesson and the following lesson can be combined into about 6 days of class time rather than 17.  In order to do so, the teacher would lead instruction and individual practice activities about each of the aspects of exposure that are included in the sample slideshow below. The teacher would present each aspect as a separate topic on a day of class and then assign practice activities as homework.  


Class set: Presentation Details & Rubric

Slideshow: Aspects of Exposure (sample presentations)

Sample photographs

Graphic organizer: ISO, Aperture & Shutter speed

Computers and resources for students to use while researching

Lesson step-by-step

Day 1

1. Building background — 10 minutes

Talk about exposure in a general sense.  What does the word “expose” mean? What does it refer to when it comes to photography?  What types of exposure do you already know about?  How do you think exposure affects photos?

2. Introduce project — 10 minutes

 Explain to students how they will be responsible for teaching the class about one aspect of exposure. Students will be responsible for researching that aspect, learning about it, finding examples, planning activities, and preparing a presentation.  Pass out the presentation details and the rubric. Assign groups.

3. Research — 25 minutes

Give students the rest of the period to begin researching their exposure technique and trying to understand.

4. Homework

Students should continue researching tonight for homework.  Hopefully, students need to have at least a basic understanding of their exposure technique by the time they get to class tomorrow.

Days 2-5

1. Work time

Give students the whole period to work on their presentations.  Since these concepts and skills are difficult to understand, the teacher should spend significant time with each group to verify that they are planning their presentation using correct material and understanding the concepts that they have been assigned.

Students should have their presentations ready prior to the beginning of the next lesson, Presentations & Practice, which will take place over the next 12 days of class.


When assigning topics to groups, it may be helpful to keep in mind that the skills vary widely when it comes to level of difficulty.  ISO and White Balance are fairly easy to understand, whereas Metering and Flash are more difficult concepts to master.  Assigning easier topics to struggling groups of students (and more difficult concepts to more experienced students) will result in better overall understanding among the class as presentations occur.