Ex­po­sure is ar­guably more im­por­tant than fo­cus­ing, and po­ten­tially more daunt­ing. Thank­fully, help is at hand…

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Claim some com­pen­sa­tion

Un­usu­ally light or dark sub­jects can con­fuse your Nikon’s ex­po­sure me­ter, as it will al­ways try to ren­der them as a mid-tone. In such cases you may need to ap­ply ex­po­sure com­pen­sa­tion. It’s eas­ier that it sounds: ap­ply pos­i­tive com­pen­sa­tion to let in more light and lighten the ex­po­sure (mak­ing sub­jects such as snow come out lighter) and neg­a­tive com­pen­sa­tion to re­duce the amount and so darken the ex­po­sure.


Lock the ex­po­sure

Nikon D-SLRs aren’t like most other dig­i­tal cam­eras – half-press­ing and hold­ing the shut­ter but­ton will lock the fo­cus, but not the ex­po­sure (though you can change this is the Cus­tom Set­tings). That’s why you need the AE-L/AF-L but­ton on the back of the cam­era. In fact, you can con­fig­ure this to lock the fo­cus, the ex­po­sure, or both, us­ing the cus­tom func­tions menu.


Dial M for man­ual

If it’s set to any of the auto ex­po­sure modes, your Nikon will mea­sure the light in the scene and make ad­just­ments for each shot you take. This isn’t al­ways a good thing! If you’re shoot­ing a panorama made up of over­lap­ping frames, for ex­am­ple, you need each ex­po­sure to be ex­actly the same, so shoot­ing in Man­ual mode en­sures com­plete con­sis­tency across the whole se­quence.

25 Get help from your his­togram

You can dis­play an RGB his­togram for shots you’ve taken us­ing the Play­back dis­play op­tion in the Play­back menu. This shows a his­togram for each of the red, green and blue colour chan­nels, and it can be more use­ful than the reg­u­lar his­togram be­cause it alerts you to sit­u­a­tions where one chan­nel or colour is ‘clip­ping’ (un­der- or over-ex­pos­ing) more than the oth­ers.

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