So in my last few posts, I have explained the benefits controlling of shutter speed, aperture and ISO and how these three key fundamentals work together in photography. You will have seen how you can used these creatively and also together to ensure that your photographs are well exposed.
We have seen that obtaining the correct exposure means using the camera to ensure that enough, but not too much light is recorded by the camera’s sensor, resulting in a well balanced and well lit photograph. Usually your camera will do a great job automatically measuring this for you and ensuring that it is not too bright or too dark. However, there will be times when the camera doesn’t get this right and other times when you will want a little more creative control as to how your photograph will look.
One thing that I think confuses new photographers and that is the exposure compensation control on their cameras. This feature is usually marked with a ‘+/-‘ symbol on your camera.
The exposure compensation control allows you to manually alter the exposure of a scene by increasing the ‘+’ to make the image brighter, or ‘-‘ to make the image darker. This is useful where the camera’s exposure meter is unable to obtain the correct exposure and usually occurs in scenes of high or low contrast where the meter gets a little confusedz. The exposure compensation control moves up in segments (usually thirds) of what are know as ‘stops of light’. Each full stop of light doubles (or halves) the exposure.
A snowy scene is a common example of the camera not being able to correctly meter the exposure and is fooled into making the whites appear as shades of grey in its attempt not to over expose the scene.
It is worth remembering when using exposure compensation, you will usually have to manually reset it before taking the next photograph or you may find that your next photograph is drastically over or under exposed depending where you left the setting. Often on some cameras, even turning off will not reset it, so it is good practice to reset it each time you finish taking the photograph.
Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions or comments about this post (or anything else on my website), and to pass this tutorial onto any photographer friends you think may benefit from it.