49 seriously good Canon DSLR tips, tricks, time savers and shortcuts

49 seriously good Canon DSLR tips, tricks, time savers and shortcuts

Canon DSLR Tips 23-28


Canon DSLR Tips: easy ways to adjust exposure

23 Easy ways to adjust exposure

There are lots of exposure modes and metering options on your EOS, but the simple way to check exposure is to take a picture and then look at the result on the LCD, whatever settings you have used.

Canon DSLR Tips: easy ways to adjust exposure

+1 exposure compensation

You can then use Exposure Compensation to make the next picture you take lighter or darker to suit (for more on this, check out our handy photography cheat sheet on exposure compensation).

With popular EOS models you press the Av+/- button then rotate the Main Dial behind the shutter. A negative setting makes the picture darker, a positive one makes it lighter.

24 Hidden compensations 

On a 40D or 50D, Exposure Compensation may be hard to find. Look at the On/Off switch, and you’ll see a third unmarked position. Switch to this, then use the big dial on the back of the SLR to adjust the exposure.

25 How much Exposure Compensation?
If the subject is predominantly black, the camera will tend to overexpose the shot, so use a negative setting. With a predominantly white or light scene, set Exposure Compensation to +1 or +2 for a good balance.

Canon DSLR Tips: partial metering

26 Partial Metering

Subjects photographed against a bright background or dark backdrop will need Exposure Compensation to avoid appearing as shadowy silhouettes. You could also switch the Metering mode to one that just measures the brightness from the centre of the screen. We find that Partial metering works well in most situations.

27 Other Metering modes
Two other Metering modes to try with your camera are Evaluative and Centre-weighted. Evaluative is pretty intelligent, but not infallible, while Centre-weighted can be easier to predict and adjust for.

For more tips on metering, download our metering mode cheat sheet explaining how they work and when to use them.

28 Focus Lock
One of the handiest SLR features, Focus Lock gets the autofocus (AF) to focus on a specific part of a scene. Access it by using the One-Shot AF mode, then gently press on the shutter release for the AF system to spring to life – it will then lock when it has homed-in on its target. Keep your finger half-pressed down and recompose your shot, then press the button fully.

For more, check out our step-by-step tutorial on how to use focus lock on your digital camera.


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  • Dimitri_K

    A few “tips” are really bad advice. Do NOT change your color space to Adobe RGB (ARGB) unless you are familiar with color management from camera to post-processing to printing, and if you don’t instantly recognize what it means to convert your color space to sRGB in post-processing software for printing at any lab/print service, then you don’t want to use Adobe RGB color space in your camera. If you don’t properly handle ARGB files at every step, your colors will be worse than the default setting of sRGB, which is what 99.9% of the photos you see use. Also, using the Av priority mode with flash is strange; you can easily exceed your maximum flash sync speed. Use shutter priority when using flash to set your shutter speed at an acceptable speed, then modify your ISO if needed to get the aperture or background lighting level where you want it.