July 17, 2008



There will be times when your aperture, ISO and shutter speed need a tiny bit of tweaking. That’s where your exposure compensation will come into play. Uh-oh, another new term…Don’t let that frighten you. Exposure compensation or values (EV) is a smart feature which allows you tweaking room when working in bright sun or shaded areas.

Remember, when you set the aperture, the camera selects an appropriate shutter speed. If you choose to set the shutter speed, the camera selects a suitable aperture. This is where exposure compensation comes into play. It provides you the flexibility to correct for more or less light without resetting your f-stops or shutter settings.

If the day is sunny, which it usually is in Arizona, I set my EV two clicks to the right and work from there. If it’s a heavy shadow area, I set it at two clicks to the left. We call this trial and error from which we all learn…Digital cameras can be off (light/dark) in normal exposure methods because they expose and average for 18% gray.

Check your camera manual to see if exposure compensation or EV is a listed feature. If so, read the instructions to fully understand how it functions. Next step; go out and take several practice shots. The more you practice using this feature, the easier it becomes. After awhile, it's just another “second nature” reaction. This feature is only an aid so please, don’t become dependent on it. Learn how to take great pictures using manual, shutter or aperture settings.

Tip: On a bright sunny day, use the Sunny 16 Rule to determine shutter and aperture settings. Set aperture to f/16, and shutter speed (reciprocal seconds) to ISO speed. Example, f-stop to 16, ISO 100 and shutter at 1/125.

Another excellent feature is the histogram which measures the level of brightness for the tones in your image. Once again, check your camera manual for this feature and learn how use it. The histogram will help you to adjust settings for optimum exposure.

Until next time—Happy Shooting!

"The camera doesn't make a bit of difference. All of them can record what you are seeing. But, you have to SEE.” ~Ernst Haas, Comment in workshop, 1985

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