How to deal with contrast
With Sam more confident about how to judge the exposure using her SLR’s histogram and highlight warning displays, I encourage her to try shooting a much more challenging subject.
By moving position so that the setting sun is just out of the frame, the lighting conditions instantly become much more tricky. There’s a huge contrast between the lightest area of the sky and the shadows across the beach huts.
Again, I get Sam to shoot the scene using Aperture Priority, and to start without changing the exposure settings at all. Her first shot is a good starting point, but again the camera’s highlight warning display reveals that detail has been lost in the brightest areas on the left of the frame.
So I get Sam to use her camera’s exposure compensation function to capture as much detail as possible, varying the amount between +1EV and -2EV.
By checking the histogram display after each shot Sam decides that in this lighting the best results are achieved at -1EV. She’s quickly learned that exposure is often about compromise. When there’s a lot of contrast you have to decide whether you want to keep detail in the highlights or the shadows.
PAGE 1: How to get consistent exposures at slow shutter speeds
PAGE 2: Getting the basics right first
PAGE 3: How your histogram can help
PAGE 4: How to deal with contrast
PAGE 5: The process of experimenting at slow shutter speeds
PAGE 6: Shot of the Day
10 reasons why your photos aren’t sharp (and how to fix them)
9 secrets to using a tripod like a pro
The best shutter speeds for every situation
Common mistakes at every shutter speed (and the best settings you should use)