Learning to expose to the right can be one of the most valuable photography tips you learn as a photographer. Our in-depth guide explains exactly why, when and how you should do it.
There’s no need to be embarrassed for asking “What is a histogram?”. While your camera’s histogram is one of the more important tools at your disposal, many photographers are unaware of its capabilities. In this post we’ll answer the question, What is a histogram? And we’ll also answer some of the more common questions around how to read a histogram, where to find it and what you should be looking for on that tiny graph.
Getting exposure right is one of the biggest challenges you’ll face when shooting landscapes. Often, you’ll find that the ideal exposure times for the sky and foreground will differ by two to three stops. You can use a graduated ND filter to balance the exposure, but this means having to haul around filters and holders. Your camera’s exposure bracketing function offers a nice compromise that lets you capture all the detail in your high-contrast scenes.
There is something truly magical about the warm glow of shooting sunrise or sunset photography. The gloriously intense colours often inspire photographers to pick up their cameras, but how many times of you been disappointed by your results? Use these tips for fine-tuning exposure and white balance so you never again shoot sunset photography with washed-out colours.
Understanding exposure can be confusing, so allow us to break it down and start with the basics. When taking photographs, an image is recorded by light reaching your digital camera’s sensor. Here we explain the different ways your camera uses light to produce a well-exposed scene.
Spot metering mode is great for precise exposure readings, and can be a godsend when you’re shooting in tricky light. But the skill lies in deciding which part of the scene to take the reading from in the first place. Practice makes perfect, so try this exercise and see how you do…
Multiple exposure is an old technique that was enjoyed by photographers long before digital cameras came along. The process involves exposing two or more images onto one frame so that there’s a multi-layered effect, with parts of both images revealed on top of each other. This used to be achieved by disengaging the film advance and taking two shots on the same piece of film.
Obviously, there’s no film advance on a digital SLR, but many cameras have a digital version of the feature built in, which is easily accessible from the menu. Even if your digital camera doesn’t have that component, you can still achieve the same effect by combining two images in Photoshop and blending the layers together.
In this project, we’ve used the multiple exposure technique with a little twist: both images are essentially the same, we’ve just moved the camera a fraction between the two shots. This creates a painterly, almost impressionistic view
of the woods for a cool, artistic effect.
For the finishing touch, we’ve added a monochromatic warm tone. So let’s
see how it’s done…
If you have a new digital camera, or if you’re new to digital photography, all hose abbreviations on the top dial of your camera might seem a bit confusing. Your top dial is where you will find your camera’s exposure modes.
Contrary to popular belief, the exposure modes you shoot with aren’t a reflection of your technical ability. Your exposure mode of choice is also about selecting a mode that gives you the freedom to stop worrying about other settings and start concentrating on taking great shots.
Auto-exposure bracketing enables you to automatically take a series of shots at different exposure settings. By changing the shutter speed (or aperture), the camera brackets the original exposure in preset increments (usually between 1/3 to two stops) to capture three or more successive shots. Bracketing ensures a correct exposure in situations when you need to shoot quickly and you don’t have time to check the histogram.
Auto-exposure bracketing makes this process much easier because it allows you to take a series of frames from precisely the same position (so that overlapping frames will align correctly) with different exposure settings to record both highlight and shadow detail.
No matter how smart your camera’s built-in light meter, it will sometimes under- or over-expose. You can learn to compensate for such errors, but there’s a more accurate and reliable method – using a hand held light meter, such as the Sekonic L-308S hand held light meter shown here.
When using your DSLR’s internal light meter you’re measuring the light reflected from the subject, and the camera assumes that the tones in the scene will average out to a mid-grey. This is fine for most subjects, but when the subject is mainly white or black, the meter will set an exposure to record this as grey. So with white subjects you’ll end up with an under-exposed shot, and with black subjects you’ll end up with an over-exposed shot.