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Thread: How do you know whether a photo is correctly exposed or not?

  1. #21

    Default Re: How do you know whether a photo is correctly exposed or not?

    it's not a bad idea to check compositions and even clippings, but using the LCD to check exposure and WB is at the very best a very unprecise art.

    now, who will come up first with a calibrated LCD on a DSLR ...
    deadpoet
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  2. #22

    Default Re: How do you know whether a photo is correctly exposed or not?

    Quote Originally Posted by Deadpoet View Post
    it's not a bad idea to check compositions and even clippings, but using the LCD to check exposure and WB is at the very best a very unprecise art.

    now, who will come up first with a calibrated LCD on a DSLR ...
    well, once you can fit a 12 or 15" monitor to it, it will start to make sense....
    Never forget rule 5
    My Flickr

  3. #23

    Default Re: How do you know whether a photo is correctly exposed or not?

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael View Post
    well, once you can fit a 12 or 15" monitor to it, it will start to make sense....
    shooting thethered
    deadpoet
    my portfolio

  4. #24

    Default Re: How do you know whether a photo is correctly exposed or not?

    'good exposure" is where it is "bright enuf" where u want it and "dark enuf" where u want it.

    Exposure is not a technical thing but a compositional thing.

    Only when you know where you want bright and where you want dark do technicalities become relevant, and that is namely metering.

    If there is only one place in the pic you want to be "bright enuff" then spot metering is a a very effective tool. But not all cam have got spot metering and also you must be very precise in aiming this spot when you are measuring it. And then you can compensate for the meter's reading u - +/- EV - to adjust for the other area's in your picture if necessary.

    At the other end, if you do not have a specific spot, such as when both subject and background are important to the composition, then you can rely on the camera to determine what is the best "average" metering, using each manufacturer's proprietary metering algorithm. Usually it works pretty well. Again you can use the +/- EV to adjust away from the machine's computed value.

    And then there are other sorts of metering too, such as centred weighted, highlight spot, shadow spot, etc.

    On the use of the histogram it is actually not that straightforward. More useful actually is the highlight/shadow indication. Again not all cam have this feature. But the highlight/shadow indicator helps you determine if you are losing data in the areas that matters to you.

    For example if you have spot-metered on a face, cos thats what your subject is, and as a result, from the chosen metered spot, part of the face goes into highlight, meaning that some parts of the face will become pure white. Now if that is not OK - it may be Ok in some composition - you can then either change the metered spot - choose a brighter one now - or compensate from the original meter reading.

    The histogram is only useful when you have an "average scene" - where every part is more or less important. Then keeping the spikes away from the shadow and highlight ensure that no part of the picture are lost in noise or blinding light respectively. But still the highlight/shadow indicators remain useful as they tell you exactly where these are if they happen.

    So that is how you know if you have got the "correct exposure".
    Last edited by espion; 11th July 2007 at 11:43 AM.

  5. #25

    Default Re: How do you know whether a photo is correctly exposed or not?

    Cameras have an in-built exposure meter that you can see in the view finder. This is the arrow that that moves from left to right (or vice versa) when you fine-tune the settings.

    First, decide on the aperture or shutter speed that you want to create the type of picture you envision. Change the aperture for DOF and shutter for motion to get the correct 'creative' exposure.

    Second, adjust the shutter speed (if you have confirmed the aperture) or aperture (if you have confirmed the shutter speed). When the arrow reaches the '0' mark, you got the correct exposure. This assumes your camera does not tend to over/under-expose. Otherwise, dial in the appropriate exposure compensation.

    The correct exposure depends on where you meter. Generally, I find that metering the sky (for landscapes) is a good place to start.

  6. #26
    Senior Member Override2Zion's Avatar
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    Default Re: How do you know whether a photo is correctly exposed or not?

    I usually use the built in exposure meter. And double check with the RGB histogram. Your eyes should also be able to give you a good idea on first glance I guess.
    Nikon D200/D700/D800 User :)
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