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Photography looks simple enough. Point your camera at a subject and click.

But light has a mind of its own. And the only way to control it with your DSLR camera is to manage three things: the aperture of the lens, the shutter speed, and the sensitivity of the sensor. Every photography beginner gets to hear about this trio as the Exposure Triangle.

Practice is the only way to master this delicate balance. If you are too lazy to go out and shoot a thousand bad photos 7 Skill-Building Photography Exercises That Really Work 7 Skill-Building Photography Exercises That Really Work There are lots of exercises that can help "develop your photographic eye". Here are the most effective ones that we've found. Read More , this online camera simulator and the accompanying infographic can take the place of a DSLR.

The Second-Best Thing to Practice

Photography Mapped has been created by Simon Roberts, a London based animator and designer. Believe us, he has done everyone a free favor by simplifying the concepts that go into a perfect photo. The animated tool is not as complex as the myriad dials on a DSLR body.

Photography Mapped

The first slider for Light allows you to change the ambient light and shift between different times of the day. Move the slider to go from a half-moon night to a bright sun on snow setting. Try different combinations to get a feel of the challenges you will face when you can’t make the sun do your bidding.

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Adjust the other sliders for Aperture, Shutter and Sensor to get the kind of shot you want. Look at the graphic of the camera on top to see how a camera’s key parts open and close. The animation will help you understand how f-numbers relate to the eye-like movement of the aperture.

camera-sim

Keep an eye on the Exposure Slider on the right which mimics a camera’s exposure meter. Unlike many other online simulators, you can also use the exposure triangle to creatively control motion blur and depth of field while minimizing image noise. There is an Auto setting also, but to really understand the balance between the factors you should avoid that. Or, maybe just use it to see how a camera calculates a perfect shot for itself.

Get Out of Auto-Mode and Go Manual

Simon says that there are 23,814 different photo combinations you can take. That’s enough to cover nearly all everyday situations. Shooting in manual mode is an exercise in creativity. But when you capture the perfect shot, it is worth it. Photography Mapped is not the only online camera simulator 3 Steps To Learning The Basics Of Photography With A Virtual DSLR 3 Steps To Learning The Basics Of Photography With A Virtual DSLR Rather than learning your photography from books and tutorials, this web application from Canon Canada is the most fun yet. Outside of Auto from Canon is a gentle introduction to the basics of photography. Read More , but it seems to be the most detailed one so far.

How difficult has been the shift from auto to manual for you so far? Do you think Photography Mapped is an invaluable tool for a novice photographer?

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