10 common exposure problems every photographer faces (and how to fix them)

10 common exposure problems every photographer faces (and how to fix them)

Exposure Problem 7. Overexposed clouds in a landscape

What is HDR: exposure for shadows

Like exposure problem number 6, this can be caused by an imbalance between the brightness of the sky and the ground in a landscape, however in this case the camera’s metering system has favoured the foreground and set an exposure that makes the brightest part of the sky burn out.

As with the previous problem, this can be resolved by using an ND Grad filter to balance out the exposure across the scene or by making use of modern digital technology to create a high dynamic range (HDR) image.

The best HDR photography is made by combining two or more shots that are taken at different exposure settings, with one set for the sky and the other for the land.

These images can then be combined in an image editing package or using specialist HDR software.

Because the two images need to match up it is essential that the camera doesn’t move between them, so it should be mounted on a sturdy tripod.


Fake HDR effects in Photoshop Elements
What your histogram says about your landscapes
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Exposure Problem 8. Exposure compensation set incorrectly

Applying EV compensation

One of the most common exposure mistakes is to adjust the exposure compensation for an image and then forget to reset it to zero before shooting a different scene.

Before you start shooting try to get into the habit of checking the metering and exposure compensation settings.

But if you find that your camera is producing consistently brighter or darker images than you expect, check the exposure compensation value.


What is exposure compensation: free cheat sheet
Your digital camera’s enemies (and how to defeat them)
Using histograms: 6 ways to react to exposure problems

  • Michael Rector

    I have a question, with my grey card set, it also has a black and white card. how do you use these to correct exposure? does the above apply to these two black and white cards too, and if so, how does the camera do this without specifying what cards you are exposing to?

  • tom from jersey

    After all these years I still forget that the LCD image on the back of camera is NOT your exposure. I have my camera set up to have the image & histogram displayed simultaneously. Of course the LCD is perfect for composition