Slow shutter speeds: how to achieve consistent exposures every time

Slow shutter speeds: how to get consistent exposures up and down the scale

How to deal with contrast

Slow shutter speeds: how to deal with contrast  Slow shutter speeds: 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.

Slow shutter speeds: how to deal with contrast

Shooting into the light using the indicated exposure gave plenty of shadow detail, but the sky is over-exposed. With -1EV of exposure compensation Sam has included maximum detail in both highlights and shadows.

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

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