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Using an exposure strategy

From: Shooting with the Canon 5D Mark III

Video: Using an exposure strategy

So I found this shot that I want to take here. I just like the composition of this triangle here, with this stone path coming out of it, and I also like the dynamic range here; I like the dark shadow, and the lit up path. So there are a lot of decisions that I need to make here. I am not going to go into too many of their creative ones. I need to consider, how dark do I want the shadows? Do I want detail back there in the shadows, or do I like it a solid black triangle? How much detail do I want on the path? Well, I know I don't want the path to overexpose.

Using an exposure strategy

So I found this shot that I want to take here. I just like the composition of this triangle here, with this stone path coming out of it, and I also like the dynamic range here; I like the dark shadow, and the lit up path. So there are a lot of decisions that I need to make here. I am not going to go into too many of their creative ones. I need to consider, how dark do I want the shadows? Do I want detail back there in the shadows, or do I like it a solid black triangle? How much detail do I want on the path? Well, I know I don't want the path to overexpose.

Great thing about digital is that it's not going to cost me anything to experiment; its not going to cost me anything to shoot. So I'm going to try a few different exposures here. Now, the way that I would normally approach this is I would just start with the composition. I would get my shot framed the way that I want it, and I am in Auto mode here, so I am just going to take that shot, and this is the composition that I'm thinking of. And the camera's auto metering is going to err on the side and making sure that the bright stuff is properly exposed. I am not sure there isn't a better exposure in there, though. Maybe I want more detail in the shadows, or maybe I would like the highlights to be a little bit darkened.

Now, obviously I can take this image into Photoshop, and play with it lot, but even with that in mind, I want to be sure that I've captured as much exposure latitude as possible. If I look at the histogram on the back of the camera, I want data across as wide a range as I can get. Maybe I don't have time to stand here and do too much chimping on the back of the camera, too much studying histograms; I just want to shoot a range of shots that are going to get me some good exposure latitude. Well that's really easy to do with my exposure compensation control. My next decision is going to be one of depth of field.

I want to be sure that all of this is in focus. So I am going to switch to Aperture priority mode, and I am going to dial in a depth of field of about 11; actually, I am going to dial in a depth of field of exactly 11. I am choosing 11, because that's going to give me a really nice deep depth of field. Now, I could stop this down to f/22, but as I go much past 11, there is a chance that I am going to start to see a softening in my image due to an optical affect called diffraction. You can learn all about this in Foundations of Photography: Lenses. So I am going to focus in a particular point, I've got my camera set to center point autofocus, and I'm going to take my shot here.

Now I would like to do an overexposure of a little bit, so I am just going to meter, and then turn the rear wheel to dial in an additional stop of overexposure, and now I would like to underexpose, so I am going to do that again in the other direction. So now I've shot a bracket, so I've really got a lot to play with here in post-production if I need it. I am not sure about my composition now, though. I think there are some other things I would like to try, and you know, I could get that bracketing effect much easier by turning on the camera's auto bracketing feature. Now, I can do that from the menus, or, before I left home, I happened to have built a custom mode that activates auto bracketing and high speed burst.

So now I can play with some other compositions. I can put the path off to one side, and knock off a bracket. I can put the path to the other side, and maybe play with that tree that's a different color there, and knock off a bracket. As I'm doing this, I'm increasing my post-production complexity, because now I'm shooting three times as many shots as I was before, so I don't recommend bracketing all the time. You don't want to just walk through the world shooting three shots of everything, because really, you are not going to need them. It's going to chew up your storage faster, and it's better to be a little smarter about how you shoot.

I am choosing to do it here, because I know I've got a high dynamic range situation that I think I might want to play with. Now, I have another option here, which is to actually let the camera take care of that high dynamic range stuff for me. I can turn on HDR in my camera. That's going to shoot three shots, and merge them into an HDR image. Now, I don't get a lot of control over that merge, so I am not sure that I'm really going to want the camera's HDR merging to be my final shot. So I'm setting the merge feature to save the original three shots.

So that's going to give me a merge that I can see on the camera, that's kind of a nice pre-visualization, but I've still got those three shots that I can merge back when I get home. So that's an array of different exposure options that I have on a camera, that I can get to very easily, and I'm kind of using a little bit in combination as I try to solve the exposure puzzle here; this big dynamic range that I'm not entirely sure how I want to represent it when I get home. Ultimately, this may become a black and white image, in which case the dark shadow may really be an important thing, or maybe I like the HDR look that's got a lot more detail.

So I am trying to be sure I get the coverage that I need, so that when I get home, I've got a lot of options to play with, and I'm doing that by driving my exposure compensation control. I am in Aperture priority, and I've got my aperture locked down, so exposure compensation is only going to change shutter speed. If I wasn't in such bright daylight, I might then need to ride the ISO a little, because my shutter speed might need to be a little bit low. And I'm also playing with the camera's HDR feature, just because it's giving me some pre-visualization tools, and it's allowing me to have some more imagery to play with when I get home.

These are the kinds of ways that I work with the exposure controls on my camera to be sure that I've got the exposure latitude that I need to get the results that I want in my image editor.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for Shooting with the Canon 5D Mark III
Shooting with the Canon 5D Mark III

108 video lessons · 20674 viewers

Ben Long
Author

 
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  1. 10m 29s
    1. Welcome
      2m 16s
    2. What is an SLR?
      5m 28s
    3. A note for 5D Mark II users
      50s
    4. Using this course
      1m 55s
  2. 35m 44s
    1. Exploring basic camera anatomy
      5m 28s
    2. Attaching a lens to your camera
      4m 3s
    3. Examining batteries and media cards
      8m 35s
    4. Powering up
      1m 49s
    5. Exploring the menu system
      2m 53s
    6. Clearing all settings
      2m 5s
    7. Setting the date and time
      1m 55s
    8. Setting the language
      1m 42s
    9. Formatting the media card
      3m 4s
    10. Holding the camera
      4m 10s
  3. 25m 6s
    1. Setting Scene Intelligent Auto mode
      1m 28s
    2. Exploring the viewfinder display
      5m 51s
    3. Touring the LCD screen and the status display
      2m 22s
    4. Exploring the top-mounted control buttons
      1m 42s
    5. Autofocus basics
      5m 7s
    6. Metering basics
      1m 42s
    7. Reviewing images
      2m 59s
    8. Working with image playback
      3m 55s
  4. 39m 32s
    1. Exploring Program mode
      41s
    2. Working with exposure compensation
      5m 2s
    3. Using the lock switch
      1m 21s
    4. Revisiting metering
      1m 43s
    5. Changing the ISO
      2m 14s
    6. Looking at ISO speed settings
      4m 36s
    7. Exploring long exposure noise reduction
      2m 53s
    8. Exploring high ISO noise reduction
      1m 40s
    9. Using program shift
      2m 11s
    10. Exploring image format and size
      3m 59s
    11. Using the Info button
      2m 4s
    12. Examining level and grid display
      3m 45s
    13. Using the Quick Control screen
      1m 35s
    14. Setting the color space
      1m 25s
    15. Configuring multiple media cards
      3m 24s
    16. Using the feature guide
      59s
  5. 23m 15s
    1. Exploring focus modes
      2m 25s
    2. Selecting autofocus areas
      3m 54s
    3. Exploring other autofocus options
      3m 44s
    4. Customizing servo auto focus
      4m 49s
    5. Exploring autofocus custom functions
      4m 50s
    6. Using manual focus
      3m 33s
  6. 10m 31s
    1. Using auto white balance
      1m 48s
    2. Exploring white balance presets
      3m 7s
    3. Using manual white balance
      5m 36s
  7. 10m 47s
    1. Exploring Drive mode
      4m 52s
    2. Using the self-timer
      3m 38s
    3. Using remote controls
      2m 17s
  8. 52m 26s
    1. Exploring metering modes
      3m 26s
    2. Using exposure lock
      1m 22s
    3. Working with focus points and metering
      3m 47s
    4. Exploring Aperture Priority mode
      3m 0s
    5. Using the depth of field preview button
      2m 40s
    6. Using Shutter Priority mode
      3m 26s
    7. Using Manual mode
      3m 27s
    8. Using auto exposure bracketing
      6m 3s
    9. Exploring Bulb mode
      2m 34s
    10. Working with the Auto Lighting Optimizer
      1m 40s
    11. Correcting lens aberration
      2m 46s
    12. Exploring Highlight Tone Priority
      2m 25s
    13. Understanding high-dynamic range (HDR)
      7m 5s
    14. Creating multiple exposures
      6m 25s
    15. Using the mirror lockup feature
      2m 20s
  9. 27m 38s
    1. Modifying LCD brightness
      3m 27s
    2. Rotating images
      2m 36s
    3. Using the playback grid
      42s
    4. Enabling AF point display
      1m 18s
    5. Rating images
      3m 4s
    6. Protecting and deleting images
      4m 40s
    7. Using Quick Control during playback
      1m 17s
    8. Exploring file numbering options
      2m 43s
    9. Creating folders
      1m 10s
    10. Changing file names
      3m 12s
    11. Adding copyright information
      3m 29s
  10. 7m 57s
    1. Defining picture styles
      2m 0s
    2. Exploring predefined picture styles
      2m 1s
    3. Adjusting predefined picture styles
      1m 56s
    4. Working with the monochromatic picture style
      2m 0s
  11. 22m 28s
    1. Activating Live View
      7m 16s
    2. Focusing in Live View
      5m 32s
    3. Focus manually in Live View
      1m 25s
    4. Working with aspect ratio
      2m 33s
    5. Exploring other Live View options
      3m 36s
    6. Reviewing the drawbacks to using Live View
      2m 6s
  12. 12m 16s
    1. Shooting video in Auto and Program modes
      6m 39s
    2. Shooting video in Priority or Manual modes
      3m 35s
    3. Exploring movie playback
      2m 2s
  13. 13m 0s
    1. Exploring custom modes
      5m 38s
    2. Using the custom menu
      2m 56s
    3. Exploring custom controls
      4m 26s
  14. 8m 57s
    1. What are custom functions?
      35s
    2. Working with exposure level increments
      1m 34s
    3. Bracketing auto cancel
      53s
    4. Changing the number of bracketed shots
      1m 5s
    5. Changing ISO speed setting increments
      1m 34s
    6. Exploring the Live View shooting area display
      40s
    7. Enabling safety shift
      2m 6s
    8. Clearing all custom functions
      30s
  15. 8m 16s
    1. Camera and sensor cleaning
      3m 12s
    2. Using the Battery Info command
      1m 45s
    3. Looking at operating conditions and temperatures
      2m 3s
    4. Getting firmware updates
      1m 16s
  16. 15m 10s
    1. Exploring focus and composition
      5m 31s
    2. Using an exposure strategy
      5m 11s
    3. Controlling exposure through Program mode
      4m 28s
  17. 23s
    1. Goodbye
      23s

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