We’ve all been out in great locations, taking what we thought were perfect shots, only to discover that the scene has turned out really bright and washed out. Or we got the family perfectly posed, only to discover everyone in the photo is dark and their features are hidden.
What went wrong?
These mishaps happen because the automatic exposure sensor in your camera can get fooled by certain lighting conditions.
If you take a picture and there is a bright light source BEHIND the subject you want to take a picture of, that light source will send too much light into the camera.
The camera has to rely the amount of light coming through the lens and falling on the sensor,so sometimes it gets it wrong. Because the sensor tries to average the exposure out while not losing any of the bright areas in the photo, it can end up exposing for the light source instead of the subject.
So when could that happen?
It could happen:
a)If you take a photograph with the sun in front of you instead of behind you, (a sunset, or a group shot on holiday, for example)
Modern cameras are very smart, but it doesn’t mean they’re always smarter than you are. That’s why it’s important to learn about the exposure compensation feature of your DSLR. Even less expensive point-and-shoot model cameras are getting into the act and adding this essential feature, so let’s learn more about it.
Having an exposure compensation setting on your camera means you have the ability to make an adjustment to the exposure of your photos in mere seconds.
This handy function is often identified by a small icon, usually similar to this :
Exposure Compensation allows you to slightly adjust the camera’s choice for the exposure, by telling the camera to allow more or less light in. But you might be wondering why you’d ever need to use it if you’re shooting in automatic mode?
What’s the EV setting anyway? EV stands for Exposure Value (also commonly called “exposure compensation.”) The camera doesn’t always get exposure right–so you can increase or decrease the exposure of your photos up or down a few stops with this feature. You’ll see the setting indicated on your camera by a symbol similar to the one above.
Take a test shot. If the shot looks under or overexposed, you can quickly adjust the exposure up or down via the EV setting without needing to fiddle with other settings like ISO.
But the exposure compensation feature on your camera isn’t just a quick fix for exposure problems.
You can also deliberately use the EV setting to create interesting and artistic effects.