Exposure compensation is a way of adjusting the exposure of an image by changing the amount of light that is recorded by the camera’s sensor.
It is typically measured in stops, with each stop representing a doubling or halving of the amount of light that is recorded.
For example, if you are shooting in aperture priority mode and the camera is giving you a shutter speed of 1/60th of a second, but you want to make the image brighter, you can use exposure compensation to increase the exposure by one stop.
This will result in the camera increasing the shutter speed to 1/30th of a second, effectively doubling the amount of light that is recorded.
How Does Exposure Compensation Work?
Exposure compensation works by adjusting the exposure metering system in your camera.
When you take a photo, the camera’s metering system reads the light in the scene and calculates the best exposure settings based on the mode you are shooting in (such as aperture priority or shutter priority).
However, the camera’s metering system isn’t perfect, and sometimes it can be fooled by tricky lighting situations.
This is where exposure compensation comes in.
By adjusting the exposure compensation, you can tell the camera to underexpose or overexpose the image by a certain amount, regardless of what the metering system is telling you.
When Should You Use Exposure Compensation?
Exposure compensation can be used in a variety of situations, but it is particularly useful when you are shooting in tricky lighting conditions.
For example, if you are shooting a subject against a bright background (such as a sunset), the camera’s metering system may be fooled into underexposing the subject.
By using exposure compensation, you can tell the camera to overexpose the image slightly, resulting in a better-exposed subject.
Exposure compensation can also be useful when shooting in low light conditions.
In these situations, the camera’s metering system may be fooled into overexposing the image, resulting in blown-out highlights.
By using exposure compensation to underexpose the image slightly, you can retain more detail in the highlights.
How to Use Exposure Compensation
Using exposure compensation is easy, and the process will vary slightly depending on the camera you are using.
However, the basic steps are as follows:
Set your camera to the desired shooting mode (such as aperture priority or shutter priority).
Press the exposure compensation button (usually labeled with a +/- symbol).
Use the dial or arrow buttons to adjust the exposure compensation up or down.
Take a test shot and review the image to see if you need to adjust the exposure compensation further.
Continue shooting with the new exposure compensation settings.
It’s important to note that exposure compensation settings typically only apply to the current shooting mode.
For example, if you are shooting in aperture priority mode and then switch to shutter priority mode, you will need to adjust the exposure compensation again.
Exposure Compensation In Photography – Wrapping Up
Exposure compensation is a powerful tool that can help you take better photos in tricky lighting situations.
By adjusting the exposure compensation, you can tell the camera to overexpose or underexpose the image by a certain amount, resulting in a better-exposed image.
If you haven’t already, take some time to practice using exposure compensation in different lighting conditions.
You may be surprised at how much of a difference it can make in your photos!