10/02/2009

Exposure Top 10 Tips


On the face of it, exposure seems a pretty straightforward business. In order to produce a good range of tones in your picture, the camera has to make sure the right amount of light reaches the sensor. And it does this (or you do) by adjusting the length of the exposure (the shutter speed) and the light intensity (the lens aperture). The image is formed by the accumulation of light on the sensor during the exposure. All digital cameras incorporate exposure systems which will do this automatically, so what’s the problem? Even the most sophisticated metering system is unable to understand what the camera’s looking at, or what the photographer’s intentions might be. This is where you need to take control. Here are 10 good tips to guide you to get what you want.






1) TAKE A MID-TONE WITH YOU
Pack a grey card in your camera bag – or buy a mid-toned camera bag which you can meter off.

2) LOOK AT THE HISTOGRAM
Don’t rely on a simple playback image to judge exposure – let the camera show you precisely

3) WATCH THE BACKGROUND
Be aware of how the tone of a background can influence your camera’s meter.

4) BE AWARE OF HIGHLIGHTS
When exposing for dark subjects, look for any bright areas that might be blown out as a result.

5) SWITCH TO SPOT METERING
For tricky lighting and small areas, there’s no substitute for spot metering if you’re not in a rush.

6) RESTORE THE WHITENESS
If your subject’s large in the frame and bright white, spot meter off them and add 2 EV to 2.5 EV.

7) METER FOR HIGHLIGHTS
As a general rule, it’s best to meter for the highlights and let the shadows fall where they will.

8) CARRY A SET OF FILTERS
Always pack a graduated neutral density filter and polariser – they’re not just useful for ‘pure’ landscapes…

9) DIAL DOWN YOUR FILL FLASH
With digital cameras so good at picking up shadow detail, you’ll be surprised how little fi ll fl ash you need.

10) GET CREATIVE
Don’t always chase the ‘perfect’ exposure. Experiment with going to extremes.

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