What do you mean when you say a “Stop of Light”

 Photo of Eiffel Tower shows one stop over and one stop under

Photo of Eiffel Tower shows one stop over and one stop under

We have compiled a list of the TOP50 questions that we hear on our workshops. From gear, to settings, to composition, and shooting styles, we have decided to post three questions and answers a week till we get through them all.

We hope they answer some of the questions that you may have. Here is today’s question.

Question: What do you mean when you say increase or decrease a “Stop of Light”

Answer: A stop is simply a doubling or halving of the amount of light that you let into the sensor when you are taking a photo.

When you hear a photographer say he's going to increase his exposure by 1 stop, it simply means they are going to capture twice as much light as on the previous shot. And they are doing just this by adjusting one of three things…Slowing the shutter speed, slowing the shutter speed lets in more light. Adjusting the aperture diameter, going from f6.3 to f5.6 will let in more light. Or they are adjusting the ISO, and by going from ISO 100 to ISO 200 will make the sensor more sensitive to light and make the exposure brighter

Thanks for reading,



Kevin A Pepper

Kevin is a photographer and educator based in Waterloo, Ontario. His first love is photographing nature, regardless of the season or weather condition; the Ontario landscape and its wildlife are his inspiration. But you will also see other styles of photography in his portfolio. From street photography to urban exploration of abandoned buildings and architecture, he loves to capture it all with his camera for his corporate clients and his growing personal portfolio. Kevin’s images have been featured in Canadian Nature Photographer, PHOTONews Canada, Photo Technique Magazine, The London Free Press, The Weather Network, and National Geographic Online. His diverse client list includes the City of Cambridge, Olympus, GORE Mutual, TVO, and African Lion Safari. Kevin also operates “Northof49 Photography”, a company launched in 2012 dedicated to teaching amateur photographers through International and Canadian-based workshops. In the coming year, Kevin will be leading workshops in Iceland, Mongolia, Tanzania, Venezuela, Provence, and numerous destinations across Canada. Website: www.kevinpepperphotography.com