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Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Digital Exposure Tips From The Pros


Don’t rely on setting the camera to auto or fixing a photo after capture. Check out what the pros have to say about exposure.

This Article Features Photo Zoom


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7 Truth or glare. (Does your LCD lie?) Many photographers routinely rely on the picture preview that appears on the LCD screen on the back of the camera to confirm that their exposure settings are correct. And since LCDs are difficult to see, they often adjust the display to its brightest setting, which gives an artificially bright impression of the image. The photographer may then assume that an underexposed image is properly exposed. There are two factors that can mitigate this problem. First, set the LCD to its middle brightness setting so that it reflects a closer approximation of the actual exposure. Watch for “blinkies” on the LCD image that represent areas that are completely blown out. Better yet, make your exposure decisions based on the histogram rather than the image on the LCD. To improve your view of the LCD in bright light, use the HoodLoupe from Hoodman (www.hoodmanusa.com).
—George Lepp

8 Getting the right backlight. Backlit situations are always intimidating to photographers unsure about their metering. The way I think about a backlit subject is to ask myself how dark do I want the shaded side—the side facing me—to be. If I make the shaded side very dark, then I’ll emphasize the rim lighting of the backlight. If I make it lighter, then I’ll emphasize the subject and deemphasize the backlighting. In this case, since I wanted to see the face of the bear cub, I decided to spot-meter the face and make it a half-stop darker than a medium tonality. This actually lightened up the dark, shadowed face of the bear. By doing so, I diminished the backlighting, but didn’t eliminate it altogether.
—David Middleton

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9 Strike a balance. When you’re composing a photograph, consider the overall balance of light and dark areas within the frame. Bright objects, especially when seen along the edges, are often distracting. As I set up this image of corn lilies, I watched carefully to make sure there were no bright leaves that would pull the viewer’s eye out of the frame.
—William Neill

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