Photography cheat sheet: the Sunny 16 Rule

Your camera has a hugely powerful and sophisticated light metering system that can intelligently analyze the light patterns, the light levels and even the subjects in your pictures and calculate what it thinks is the optimum exposure for your outdoor shots. And most of the time you don't need it.

Here's our cheat sheet, previously formatted as a tips card for Digital Camera Magazine. We've put the front and back side by side so that it's ideal for viewing on a phone held sideways. Why not download the image and save it to your phone's camera roll? (Image credit: Digital Camera World)

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Rod Lawton

Rod is an independent photography journalist and editor, and a long-standing Digital Camera World contributor, having previously worked as DCW's Group Reviews editor. Before that he has been technique editor on N-Photo, Head of Testing for the photography division and Camera Channel editor on TechRadar, as well as contributing to many other publications. He has been writing about photography technique, photo editing and digital cameras since they first appeared, and before that began his career writing about film photography. He has used and reviewed practically every interchangeable lens camera launched in the past 20 years, from entry-level DSLRs to medium format cameras, together with lenses, tripods, gimbals, light meters, camera bags and more. Rod has his own camera gear blog at but also writes about photo-editing applications and techniques at