Seriously! Why did no one tell me about exposure compensation when I was starting out?!?! I know what you are thinking. You didn't know about exposure compensation? ...and you are a PHOTOGRAPHER? ummm...the answer would be YES. Resoundingly.
A few years ago, I was shooting just fine, adjusting my ISO, my aperture, my shutter speed, creating interesting compositions, capturing emotion - I thought I was doing great!
Something was missing though. I had to shoot in perfect lighting. I always had to find perfect shade for beautiful photos. Even when I was adjusting my settings, I couldn't shoot in horrible conditions (like shooting into a bright wall of sunlight and still capturing the people's faces without silhouetting them). How could I shoot weddings where I couldn't arrange the setting to maximize my photography? I needed to figure out exposure compensation, but I didn't know it.
By now, you probably realize that I was NOT formally trained. If I were, I would have learned everything about exposure early on. Now, let me take a short side trail and encourage all of you girls (and guys!) that are learning photography on your own. It absolutely can be done and there are advantages! When you teach yourself, you often learn things differently, you grow into your own style instead of being heavily influenced by your teacher and I believe you learn things more deeply and intrinsically when you are heavily invested in studying and figuring things out yourself. Of course, there are downsides to teaching yourself as well. One downside is that you might skip something vitally important - like exposure compensation.
I started out on a D40 (camera 3), currently shoot with a D7000 (camera 2) and recommend the D3000 (camera 1).
Whatever you do, save your money you had set aside for that Nikon Coolpix or Canon Powershot and buy a used DSLR. Trust me.
...oh and PS -- these tips work JUST as well for a manual camera as they do for digital cameras...
Take a look at the top of your camera. There is a little +/- button - see it on the right?. That is your exposure compensation button. You press the +/- button and roll the knob on the back at the same time to adjust (this might be different on some cameras...consult your manual!) Very basically, if you want more light, you adjust to the + numbers. If you want less light, you adjust to the - numbers.
Let's move on to the nitty gritty details...
Here is a photo that is OVER EXPOSED. It is too bright. See how much of the detail is lost ? The pink petals are just flat and too garish.
Of course I still try to find perfect lighting. I still try to find that perfect day of softly lit cloud cover for portraits, but weddings are planned on wedding days, and they are not always perfect. So, I use my exposure compensation button a lot. It is the quickest way to adjust without changing a multitude of settings in a fast shooting environment. I only wished someone had told be about exposure compensation sooner! At least you can no longer say the same thing! You know about exposure compensation now, so go forth and use it!!!
If this post was helpful for you, you will want to move on to the next step which is figuring out layouts! If you want to get your work published, you need to read THIS!
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What about photography still throws you off?? What are you trying to perfect?? Share your struggles and ask your questions to the pro photags in the FORUM!
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