When you are shooting photos, there may be times when the exposure is not quite right. The photo might be too bright or too dark. This is where exposure compensation comes in handy. Exposure compensation allows you to adjust the exposure of a photo, so that it looks more like what you want it to look like. In this article, we will discuss what exposure compensation is, when to use it, and how to use exposure compensation when shooting photos!
What Is Exposure Compensation?
Exposure compensation is a feature that allows you to adjust the exposure of your photo. The exposure of a photo is how light or dark the photo is. If a photo is too bright, you can use exposure compensation to make it darker. If a photo is too dark, you can use exposure compensation to make it brighter.
This setting allows you to override the exposure settings that are selected by your camera’s light meter so you can ensure that your photos aren’t over or under exposed.
How Does Exposure Compensation Work?
When you take a photo, your camera’s light meter measures the amount of light in the scene. Based on this measurement, your camera will choose an exposure setting that it thinks is appropriate. However, there may be times when the exposure setting that your camera chooses is not quite right. This is where exposure compensation comes in handy.
Exposure compensation allows you to adjust the exposure of your photo, so that it looks more like what you want it to look like. For example, if you are taking a photo of a person in front of a bright window, the exposure setting that your camera chooses might make the person appear too dark. In this case, you would use exposure compensation to make the photo brighter, so that the person appears more like they do in real life.
When Should You Use Exposure Compensation?
You should use exposure compensation when you want to override the exposure setting that your camera has chosen. This could be because you think the photo is too bright or too dark. It could also be because you are trying to compensate for a backlit subject, or because you are shooting in a high contrast situation.
If you are unsure whether or not to use exposure compensation, it is always best to take a few test shots first. This will allow you to see how the exposure looks without having to commit to it.
How To Use Exposure Compensation
Now that we’ve covered what exposure compensation is and when to use it, let’s explore how to set the exposure compensation on your camera.
Set Your Aperture or Shutter Priority On Your Camera
The first thing you need to do is set your camera to aperture priority or shutter priority mode. In aperture priority mode, you set the aperture and the camera sets the shutter speed. In shutter priority mode, you set the shutter speed and the camera sets the aperture.
Determine How Many Stops Of Exposure Compensation To Add Or Subtract
Once you have your camera in the correct mode, you will need to decide how many stops of exposure compensation to add or subtract. To do this, you will need to take a look at the exposure scale on your camera. This is usually represented by a plus sign and a minus sign, with numbers in between.
For example, if the exposure scale on your camera goes from -/+ two, this means that you can add or subtract up to two stops of exposure compensation.
Choose The Amount Of Exposure Compensation
Now that you know how many stops of exposure compensation you can add or subtract, it’s time to choose the amount of exposure compensation you want to use.
If you want to make the photo brighter, you will need to add exposure compensation. For example, if the exposure scale on your camera goes from -/+ two, and you want to make the photo brighter, you would add one stop of exposure compensation. This would be represented by + one on the exposure scale.
If you want to make the photo darker, you will need to subtract exposure compensation. For example, if the exposure scale on your camera goes from -/+ two, and you want to make the photo darker, you would subtract one stop of exposure compensation. This would be represented by – one on the exposure scale.
To set your exposure compensation, look for a button on your camera that says ” exposure compensation” or “+/-“. Once you find this button, press it and turn the dial to adjust the exposure compensation.
For most cameras, you can set the exposure compensation to any value between -/+ two stops in one-third stop increments. So, if your camera has a +/– three-stop exposure compensation range, you can set it to +/– 0.33 (which is one-third of a stop), +/– 0.67 (two-thirds of a stop), or any value in between these two values.
Shoot And Review Your Photos
A good exposure compensation rule of thumb is to start by overexposing or underexposing your photo by one-third of a stop. From there, you can take another photo and adjust the exposure compensation as needed.
Remember, you can always go back and adjust the exposure compensation later on if you need to.
Other Exposure Compensation Tips
Here are a few other tips when setting exposure compensation on your camera:
Bracket Your Exposures
If you are unsure of how much exposure compensation to use, it is always a good idea to bracket your exposures. This means taking multiple photos at different exposure settings and then choosing the one you like best.
Check Your Camera’s Histogram
Your camera’s histogram is a great tool for checking exposure. The histogram is a graph that shows you how your photo is exposed. If the histogram is skewed to the right, this means that your photo is overexposed. If the histogram is skewed to the left, this means that your photo is underexposed.
Use Exposure Compensation In Live View Mode
If your camera has a live view mode, you can use exposure compensation while you are framing your shot. This is a great way to get a preview of how your exposure compensation will affect your photo.
Use Manual Mode
If you want more control over your exposure, you can always switch to manual mode. In manual mode, you set both the aperture and shutter speed, giving you complete control over the exposure of your photo.
What Does Each Shooting Mode Adjust?
- In Aperture Priority mode, exposure compensation affects the shutter speed. You choose the aperture and ISO, while your camera determines a corresponding shutter speed; if you then add positive exposure compensation, your camera will use a slower shutter speed; and if you add negative exposure compensation, your camera will use a faster shutter speed. In other words, Aperture Priority exposure compensation allows you to change the overall exposure value (including the aperture and ISO) without changing either of these settings.
- Shutter priority is the most flexible mode because you can adjust the size of your aperture in this mode. It’s the opposite of aperture priority: you choose a shutter speed and an ISO, while the camera selects an aperture. Your camera will select a larger or smaller aperture depending on whether you dial in positive exposure compensation or negative exposure compensation.
- On my cameras, exposure compensation is only effective in Program mode. You choose the ISO, and your camera adjusts the aperture and shutter speed for you. Then, if you add positive exposure compensation, the shutter speed increases (and if you add negative exposure compensation, the shutter speed is reduced). It’s possible that your camera behaves differently; so check your manual (or experiment) to be sure.
Exposing To The Right
“Exposing to the right” is a technique that allows you to maximize the dynamic range of your camera. When you “expose to the right,” you are purposely overexposing your photo so that the highlights are exposure correctly, while the shadows can be pulled in during post-processing.
To “expose to the right,” simply take a photo and then check the histogram. If the histogram is skewed to the right, this means that your photo is overexposed. You can then adjust the exposure compensation accordingly.
Keep in mind that when you “expose to the right,” you will need to adjust the shadows and blacks in post-processing. But, by doing this, you will be able to retain more detail in the highlights of your photo.
Using exposure compensation is a great way to get the perfect exposure for your photos. By understanding how exposure compensation works, you can take control of your camera and create the photos you envision.
I hope this article has helped you understand exposure compensation and how to use it when shooting photos.