Con­trol bright­ness

NPhoto - - Nikon Skills -

1 On the dark side

When shoot­ing your sub­ject in shade against a brighter back­drop your Nikon’s metering sys­tem may strug­gle. In the inset im­age on the left you can see that the re­sult of shoot­ing from dark to light when re­ly­ing purely on ma­trix metering is an un­der­ex­posed sub­ject.

2 Give it one

If you don’t want to leave your sub­ject in the dark, now’s the time to try ex­po­sure com­pen­sa­tion. Most Nikon D-SLRs have a ded­i­cated ex­po­sure com­pen­sa­tion but­ton on the top plate. Hold it down and flick the back dial to add in more light – here we’ll try +1 stop.

3 Add more light

At +1 stop we’ve lifted the sub­ject, but per­haps not enough. So we can try adding in a lit­tle more light. We took it to +2.3 for our main im­age here. This cor­rectly ex­poses the face; it blows out some of the back­ground de­tail but that’s fine, we can’t have it both ways.

4 Change the mood

Ex­po­sure com­pen­sa­tion gives you a huge de­gree of con­trol over the mood of your shots. Here, with the flick of a dial we go from a moody sil­hou­ette to abright, airy por­trait. Just re­mem­ber, re­set the dial when you’re done or it might trip you up next time you pick up your cam­era!

5 Light to dark

When the back­ground is darker than the sub­ject we have the op­po­site prob­lem: our metering sys­tem may over­ex­pose the face. We moved our model into the light and shot into a back­ground of shade. When shoot­ing in sun­shine like this, tilt the face up­wards to­wards the light.

6 Take it down

As you can see from the shot on the left, the large dark patches in the frame have fooled the me­ter into think­ing we need more light than we re­ally do, re­sult­ing in an over­ex­posed face. So we dial in -1 stop of un­der­ex­po­sure and the skin tones look much nicer.

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