Lighten up…

Chris Rut­ter shows how you can lighten or darken shots us­ing ex­po­sure com­pen­sa­tion

NPhoto - - Special Feature -

Or pos­si­bly darken down, as you ex­plore the ef­fects of ex­po­sure com­pen­sa­tion on your pho­to­graphs

Ex­po­sure com­pen­sa­tion is used to make your shots lighter or darker. You can use it to cor­rect the ex­po­sure for a sec­ond shot if the first one isn’t cor­rectly ex­posed, but with prac­tice you can also pre­dict when you are likely to need it be­fore you take a shot. The ba­sic prin­ci­ple is based on whether the im­age con­tains mostly dark or light tones.

The type of ex­po­sure com­pen­sa­tion that you need to use in most shoot­ing sit­u­a­tions is a lit­tle counter-in­tu­itive. If the whole im­age con­tains mostly light tones and colours, the cam­era will ac­tu­ally un­der-ex­pose the im­age, so you will need to set the ex­po­sure com­pen­sa­tion to a plus value. On the other hand, if the im­age is mostly dark the cam­era will over-ex­pose, so you need to set the ex­po­sure com­pen­sa­tion to a mi­nus value.

Even though chang­ing the ex­po­sure com­pen­sa­tion will give you more or less ex­po­sure in aper­ture-pri­or­ity (A), shut­ter-pri­or­ity (S) and Pro­gram (P) ex­po­sure modes, it will af­fect dif­fer­ent set­tings in each mode to achieve th­ese changes. So, in pro­gram mode it will al­ter both the shut­ter speed and aper­ture, un­less it’s reached the max­i­mum or min­i­mum set­ting avail­able in ei­ther set­ting, whereas in aper­ture-pri­or­ity it will change only the shut­ter speed, and in shut­ter­pri­or­ity it will change the aper­ture.

Man­ual changes

In fully man­ual ex­po­sure mode you set both the shut­ter speed and aper­ture your­self, so any ex­po­sure com­pen­sa­tion won’t di­rectly af­fect ei­ther set­ting. If you set ex­po­sure com­pen­sa­tion in man­ual it will sim­ply shift the sug­gested set­tings for the ‘cor­rect’ ex­po­sure dis­played on the ex­po­sure me­ter read­out.

Be­cause of this, un­less you are shoot­ing sev­eral images that will all be in the same light­ing con­di­tions it’s not a good idea to use ex­po­sure com­pen­sa­tion in man­ual mode, as it’s very easy to for­get that you have it set, which will af­fect the ex­po­sure of ev­ery shot that you take. As you have com­plete con­trol over the set­tings, it’s eas­ier to leave the ex­po­sure com­pen­sa­tion set to zero, and then use the ex­po­sure me­ter­ing dis­play to set val­ues that will give more or less ex­po­sure than the me­ter sug­gests.

+1EV Com­pen­sa­tion

-1EV Com­pen­sa­tion

0 (No com­pen­sa­tion)

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