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Exposure compensation #photography

I find I learn something new about photography all the time. Exposure is the amount of light that hits the sensor on a digital camera. It was the amount of light hitting the film on the old film cameras. To increase the exposure, you can slow the shutter speed, open the aperture up or increase the ISO. Exposure compensation allows you to easily adjust the exposure a little while shooting.

Exposure compensation

I’ve had my DSLR for 5 years and I have always had the feeling I was missing something about exposure compensation. I was right! There is a graphic on the screen of my camera that shows exposure compensation. It was that graphic that I didn’t fully get! I do now! It shows bars either to the left of a centre point or to the right of a centre point. To the left and your picture is likely to be under-exposed and to the right, it is likely to be over-exposed.  I didn’t fully understand that the display is controlled by the light meter in the camera. I didn’t really need to understand that because I mostly shoot on aperture priority or shutter speed priority and let the camera do some of the work setting the exposure but on the manual setting that display becomes important. It allows you to adjust exposure and compensate for things like shooting more towards the light or away from the light source.


Exposure compensation is really useful when shooting on manual but I’ll find it more useful now shooting on aperture priority too. For example, if I am shooting wide open at 1/100 of a second and the bars on the exposure compensation graphic is to the left (under-exposed) then I need to increase my ISO or consider shooting a little slower. Getting the exposure matched to the light meter will allow me to take a test shot that is close to being the right exposure and I can then adjust it either to expose more or less for the shot I want.

Look at the display on your camera and try setting it for more exposure and less exposure and centre the exposure compensation graphic and see if you get the correct exposure.

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