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When Will I Use Math in Photography?



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International Day of Mathematics

When Will I Use Math in Photography: kids often wonder if they are going to use math in their career. No doubt, I’ve never used Base 8 mathematics (remember that?!), but I’ve used just about every other bit of mathematics in my photography career. That’s right… I use math in photography.

Shutter Speed is just a fancy term for fraction

When comparing fractions, is a shutter speed of 1/2000 longer or shorter than a shutter speed of 1/125? Because these are fractions of a second, I know that chopping it up into 2000 bits results in smaller portions of a second than just 125. Why is that important? Let’s say I want to freeze action. I need the faster shutter speed in that case. However, what if I want to show motion… like water moving throughout a waterfall? In that case, I would opt for a slower shutter speed. For the image below, I had a very slow shutter speed; notice the water in the resulting image.

Will I Use Math in Photography to capture milky waterfalls? yes! Here is an example of my wife standing at the foot of a waterfall showing motion in the water using a slow shutter speed.

Lighting Ratios in Photography

Will I Use Math in Luxury Wedding Photography, pt 2: The next little math lesson I use a ton of in my day-to-day shooting is ratios. I eat, sleep and breathe lighting ratios because they have so much bearing over what the final image will look like. If I light my subject with lights that are 3 times brighter than the light on the background, it will show up very dark. And vice versa. Or I can light them both equality for a flatter look. I’m always paying attention to lighting and what it is doing in the background (and foreground) of my images.

These are just two quick and easy examples to illustrate that yes, you will be using math even if you’re a luxury wedding photographer. I didn’t even get into the deep math I use – accounting, marketing reports (creating graphs, year over year comparisons, etc). I use a lot of damn math.

To all my fellow nerds out there, Happy International Day of Math!

Talk to you soon,

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