Exposure metering and exposure compensation

Start to get control of your exposures

Many beginners do not realise that the photograph they take on auto-settings is an auto-programed response by the camera. The camera senses the light and makes a decision on the exposure. It takes into consideration the lens, the ambient light and if the flash is set to auto. Then it takes its exposure according to some pre-programed instructions in its on-board computer. As this requires no intervention by the user it looks like the exposure is fixed. However, nothing can be further from the truth.

The user has quite a lot of control over exposure. In fact there is no such thing as a perfect exposure. There is only the exposure you prefer. The camera manufacturers have done a pretty good job of creating a ‘typical’ exposure for the layman photographer. Set the camera on auto and away you go. You get credible shots, they look bright and lifelike. What more do you want? Well, the keen photographer soon realises that the programed exposure is a bit limited.

Book Suggestion…
If you want to improve your exposure get into manual control. This book gives you lots of interesting insights and great pictures. A clear narrative and a well organised book. The most important point? It encourages you to get away from auto and get control of your camera.
A great book – a recommendation from me!
Damon Guy – Photokonnexion Editor

What if you want to introduce a romantic tone into your shot. A little under-exposure does wonders for adding atmosphere. The brooding shadows of an underexposed shot brings out the mood. On the other hand, a high-key shot (very bright and very vibrant) often requires a little over-exposure. The programed response cannot do that. Alternatively, in very bright or very dark scenes you can also compensate, using exposure compensation, to help the camera out and brighten a dark scene or darken an over-bright scene.

In the two videos below you will learn about how to use your camera meter. Then, how to affect your exposure using exposure compensation. These two features of the DSLR provide you with the tools to start influencing your exposure. It is a great way to start learning about your camera light meter too. So follow these through and you will be on the way to gaining greater control of your camera.

Digital Photography 1 on 1: Metering Part 1…

Digital Photography 1 on 1: Metering Part 2: Exposure Compensation

By Damon Guy (author and Photokonnexion editor)

Damon Guy - Netkonnexion

Damon Guy (Netkonnexion)

Damon is a writer-photog and editor of this site. He has run some major websites, a computing department and a digital image library. He started out as a trained teacher and now runs training for digital photographers.
See also: Editors ‘Bio’.

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