Due to my hanging out at the park too much, I haven't put anything together for today, but luckily Beryl sent me a guest post. I also received an email from Lori P. who is going to send me more scans from her vintage paper collection which we will be sharing with you. So thank you Lori and Beryl!!!
"Why are my pictures so dark/light?! I'm following your directions by NOTHING is turning out the way I want"
It's the question am asked most often in the midst of my students learning the technical side of their camera for the first time, and immediately before doing anything else, I check one pesky little setting.
The one that many momtographers mistakenly change without even realizing what they've done.
The setting is called exposure compensation, and it is easily manipulated on your camera with a little button that looks something like this:
To this day I still don't have a clear answer as to what the purpose of exposure compensation actually is, except to annoy momtographers when they've accidentally change it and messed up all of their photos!
The gist of exposure compensation is this: while in a manual modes such at P, S/Tv, or A/Av it can bump your exposure up or down just slightly.
Bump it up a few stops towards the + and your photos will get brighter, Bump it a few stops towards the - and your images get darker.
But the one thing I was always unclear on was what exactly that was doing to the overall quality of my photos. Since I wasn't ever sure, I always avoided the button and instead focused in my efforts on learning how to master manual mode.
(P.S. if you want to master manual too, you might want to join me this Spring in my new e-course Momtographie Online!)
I know that the exposure compensation button is conveniently placed on your camera where it's easy to accidentally push and change without realizing it.
I'm guilty of unknowingly changing this setting in the past. I learned the hard way when there was a set of photos I had taken that were all WAY too bright and I had no idea why. After hours of frustration and research I discovered my exposure compensation was set to +1.0, thus overexposing ALL of my images.
So many of my students make this same error. They get so excited about learning their camera, they begin to trust that playing with the buttons and settings is the way to learn, but then they make that one little change with the exposure compensation button and then can't follow the bread crumbs back to figure out exactly what set them off course and and what changed to make all of their photos look absolutely dreadful.
When was the last time you checked your exposure compensation to make sure it's set to 0? Go check now and then report in the comments if you found that it was 'off' of where it should be.And, if you've found a useful reason to use exposure compensation in your own photography, or know the answer to my question about what it's actually doing to your image quality then I DEFINITELY want to hear about it!
Until next time,
Beryl Ayn Young is a wife, mama, teacher, and photographer who offers photography lessons to nourish the mind, body, and soul over on her personal blog. Beryl believes in lifelong learning, photographic healing, and a glass half full perspective. She teaches e-courses and and provides photo coaching aimed at teaching you how to improve your camera skills and cherish life’s journey. Connect with Beryl over on Facebook Pinterest, Instagram, or Twitter, she'd love to meet you!