great exposures

10 Ways to Get Great Exposures

Cameras are really just “light management tools”, and their main job is to get great exposures of the light that enters the lens and strikes the sensor.  Here are the techniques to know, in no particular order:

  1.  Learn and Use the Histogram (above) – It’s included in most cameras and can tell at a glance whether or not to use EC to improve your second attempt
  2. exposure compensation EC – Exposure Compensation – A shortcut device that really just tunes the light up or down using the exposure control that you haven’t locked in (shutter or aperture).  It’s a horizontal scale with a marker that you simply dial up for more light, or down for less.
  3.  Shutter – The “slices of time” adjustment.  To control motion blurring, choose “shutter priority” on the mode dial and let aperture or ISO float.
  4.  Aperture – The “DOF” adjustment.  To control background blurring, choose “aperture priority” on the mode dial and let shutter speed or ISO float.
  5.  ISO – AKA “Film Speed”.  Make a decision here and lock it in, or let it float just like the other two “exposure partners”.
  6.   AEB – Exposure Bracketing – Best used with Aperture priority when on a tripod and the subject isn’t moving at all.  Use layer masking in a program like Photoshop to blend three different exposures of the same scene, using the best of each.
  7.  Fill Flash –  Usually a mistake if you don’t know what you’re doing.  If you do though, magic can happen, especially if you get the flash OFF the top of the camera.
  8.  Turn the lights up/down –  Indoors or out:  Try to position the subject so they’re lit by, rather than shadowed by the lighting.
  9.  Reflectors – For example, hold a white poster board in front of a human subject to fill facial shadows with bounced sunlight.
  10.  Levels and Curves – Two tools included in nearly every photo-editing program.  Blurring in pictures can NOT be fixed, but exposure levels often CAN be!


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