by David Tong

© David Tong

Almost all cameras these days have an Auto-mode, even pro-level cameras will have at least a Program mode which is essentially Auto-mode with flexibility. It's safe to assume that modern cameras can analyze a scene pretty well to give you perfect exposures every single time, but in reality, they don't - why?

In many cases, especially day-lit, outdoor scenes, the camera's automatic modes will give you accurate, instantly usable exposures like the photo on the right. The shot was taken in Program mode with only ISO setting as my user-altered parameter. The image had great exposure and ample depth-of-field.

The problem is, we don't always get a nice, sunny day with good lighting and balanced contrast everyday. We have to contend with gray skies, white snow, dark night scenes, back and front lit subjects, and so forth.

The camera doesn't know where your subject is standing, neither will the camera know how light or dark a scene should be in real life, the camera's meter will always do one thing - ASSUME MIDTONE.

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