Photography is hard. And all the jabber out there doesn’t make it easier.

If you read some blogs, you’ll end up believing that it’s impossible to get a good shot unless you’re working in manual mode. Some insist you only ever shoot RAW files. Others obsess over finding the perfect camera. And all of that can help.

But for most people, it’s just way too much trouble.

Here’s a secret though: 99% of those expert tips and tricks are just means of taking more control over your exposure — something you can adjust with a simple thumb-swipe on your smartphone.

Apple

If your exposure is off, everything else in your image will look off as well (no matter how much you edit or filter it later). If you nail it, the whole image improves. This is as true for your Insta-selfies as your artwork.

Here’s a simple explanation of what exposure is, and how to wield it as a powerful tool in your image-making.