To be able to get well-exposed images you sometimes need to be able to pinpoint an exact area of a scene. In these instance your camera’s AE lock function can prove extremely useful.
Sometimes you’ll find that there won’t be an AF point in the right position for the area you want to take a spot metering from (find out when to use spot metering).
In these instances, press your digital camera’s AE-L / AF-L button to set the AE lock function, which locks the exposure. Then, just place the AF point over your subject, reframe and shoot. Below we show you step-by-step how to do it.
How to set your AE lock function
01 Play with settings
By default, the AE-L/AF-L button locks both the exposure and the focus. But you can change the camera settings so that it only locks the exposure.
02 Make a first attempt
First, frame your shot to include only the areas you want correctly exposed. Do this by turning the camera or zooming in, then holding down the button.
03 Choose an area
Let’s say we want to expose for the stained glass windows. Zoom in so they fill the frame and hold down the AE-L/AF-L button.
04 Rinse and repeat
Keep holding the AE-L/AF-L button (you’ll see the AE-L symbol in the viewfinder) to reframe and take the shot.
05 Choose another area
This leaves the rest of the shot too dark. For a different result, try framing the scene to include the walls and not the windows.
06 Shoot again
Using the AE-L/AF-L button again, we can reframe the shot and get an exposure that brings out the interior of the abbey.