The other day I was shooting on a really bright location, the beach, lets be honest here, sand is an amazing reflector of light, so that makes it har to get the correct exposure… Therefore I started thinking it was about time I get to learn about this whole thing called exposure compensation, what was that about? How do you use it? And when? And what difference does it make on the overall composition?
Remember when we talked about exposure and we said this relies on what’s known for the exposure triad, which are basically the way the aperture, shutter speed and ISO work together and influence each other. The thing is that sometimes, you are working on P, A or S modes, you’ve your settings right, and in normal conditions your picture would be completely correctly exposed, so when does the camera screws up?
It seems cameras have some problems when working with lots of black or white images. They assume that if a picture has too much black, is underexposed, and on the other hand, if it has too much white, is because it is overexposed, and how does it do to “correctly expose” the scene? Tone things a bit, going for a more gray palette of colors. This is something we’ve to keep in mind while working with black and whites, can be the motive or the background, as you’ve to know that your camera is going to underexpose or overexpose your picture to “correct” it.
How do I do then!? Ok, so the trick here is, generally speaking: if you’re working with black background, or focusing your exposure on a black motive, you’ve to tell your camera to turn it a notch down with the exposure on the final result (as it’ll overexpose it by default), then you’ve to set your exposure compensation on -1,-2,-3,-4 stops, as your best judgment tells you. If you’re working on a full of whites environment or capturing a white subject (again, with the exposure meter on spot) you’ll have to compensate the other way around +1,+2,+3,+4 stops so the camera doesn’t underexpose the scene for wrong.
For example, in this beach day, shooting on A mode I first took a picture to the bucket, and then I took another one with a +1 exposure correction and you can see that one has the correct exposure, making things right and easy to shoot fast and accurately.