Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Photo Tips - Exposure Compensation

I didn't realize until I started to research this topic that this is actually a bit of an advanced technique.  I have, in fact, been using it incorrectly up until now.  I think that understanding how to use this exposure compensation button is going to help a lot with those little pictures we do of our jewelry or crafts.

If you have a really dark background or a really light background, the subject of your photo may end up too light or too dark because the camera sensor is confused by all of that background.

For example, let's say you are taking a photo of a pendant and you want to set it off with a black background.  The camera is going to read all of that black as darkness and think that you need a whole lot of light.  So the camera will adjust the settings for that and you end up with a pendant that is washed out.

f/4.5, 1/4, 1600ISO, 0.0 EV
Then if we take the same picture but change the exposure compensation into a negative reading (which means you'll be getting less light), we get something that is closer to the original.

f/4.5, 1/5, 1600ISO, -0.333 EV
The -0.333 EV denotes the exposure value.  So in the photo above, I took away some of the light (so to speak) by decreasing the exposure (-0.333) which made the charm appear accurate.  (check out the photos of the cameras below to see where your exposure compensation dial or button is located).

So, let's try the same pendant with a bright white background.  In this case, the camera is going to see all of the light and think that the photo needs to be darkened up a bit.  This will result in a too dark image.

f/5.6, 1/320, 1600ISO, 0 EV
So I took the same photo but jacked up the exposure compensation into the positive range (to get more light).  I had to go pretty high for this one - up to +1.67.  But you can see a serious difference in the photos.

f/5.6, 1/80, 1600ISO, +1.67 EV
You can't use the exposure compensation with the auto mode (at least you can't on my camera), but you can use it with manual mode, aperture mode, and shutter speed mode.

Your manual could show you where to find the exposure compensation button, but here are examples for Nikon and Canon models.

Nikon - in A mode (aperture priority mode) you can press the +/- button (mine is right behind the shutter release button and then move the command dial (#12 in the picture below).

On a Canon, turn the big rear dial.

Phew, that was a tricky one, wasn't it.  I hope it does you some good.  I know that I will get something positive out of it now that I actually know how to use it, lol.


Digital Photography School
Steve Digicams Knowledge Centre


Gathered In The Kitchen said...

Thank you Terry! I am seriously learning so much from your tutorials!!! I am printing this one too to put in my camera bag! I don't have a DSLR but I do have a super hyped up Canon point and shoot (I guess is what it would technically be called) and I am able to change all of the settings like you're showing us! So excited to give this one a try too!

Gathered In The Kitchen said...

Hey! Found this on Pinterest...thought you'd like it too!

Unknown said...

I had never heard of this!! I swear I read my manual..... I think!:) This is great! Your necklace is lovely by the way! :) Ok, I am going to go play around with my exposure compensation!:)

Macey said...

ooooooooooooooooohhhhhhh. I've been using it the opposite way on pics like that.

Sherry said...

Terry, thanks. I just purchased a new camera, now I just need to take time to understand it. :-)

Makaila said...

Holy Toledo! What a geat post! Thank you! I can't wait to try this with my camera.

If you enjoyed this read,...

Consider joining me over at my active blog: Write Create Connect
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...