Last week I went out on a photo walk with my friend who recently purchased a new SLR camera. I was giving her a few pointers and one that gave her an “ah ha” moment was when I told her how she could easily adjust the brightness of her photos by making a fast and easy adjustment on her camera using her exposure compensation button.
If you don’t know where that button is on your camera (typically it is a button that has a +/-), pull out your manual and take a quick peek. This is a feature you will want to try out, I promise. You can use this feature in any of the non-automatic modes and this tool is also found on most point and shoot cameras.
Here is a very high-level overview of how the exposure compensation button works…
Let’s say you take a picture and find that it is too dark, all you need to do is use the press the +/- button (on my Canon 7D, I press the Q button to bring up the menu) and then you will see a line graph with numbers from -3 to +3 (see the photo below). You will then want to dial up the tick mark in the positive direction to let in more light. Conversely, if your photo was overexposed (too bright) you would move the tick mark in the negative direction.
Here is an example how tweaking these numbers can impact your photos….. The middle photo is where the camera chose the exposure or 0.
Using this feature is an easy way to lighten or darken a photo. However, it is also important to understand how ISO, Aperture and Shutter Speed impact exposure, but when you need a quick fix, this is a great tool to use.