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Arriving at the best exposure for a photo is part science and part art. In Foundations of Photography: Exposure, Ben Long helps photographers expand their artistic options by giving them a deep understanding of shutter speed, aperture, ISO, and all other critical exposure practices. This course covers the basic exposure controls provided by all digital SLR cameras, as well as most advanced point-and-shoot models. Learn how to master a camera's metering modes, how to use exposure compensation and bracketing, and much more. By the end of the course, you'll know how to develop an "exposure strategy" that will allow you to effectively employ your exposure knowledge in any shooting situation.
Even once you understand the manual control that you have over exposure, there will, of course, be times when you are just not sure what the right exposure is; sometimes your camera gets confused, also. I've got this scene here, which is a little bit tricky. I've got the stump in the foreground, which I like because it gives me a good strong subject in my image, and I've got this nice background. I have got a mountainside in the background and these trees and these leaves. I want to take a shot that that encompasses all of these. So I am in aperture priority mode, at f 11 to be sure that I have got a nice, deep depth of field, but watch what happens when I take my shot.
Overall, the exposure is good, but look at the stump here. It's pretty dark. I have lost a lot of detail in the front of the stump. It would be very nice to have more detail their, which means I need to brighten up the image, which means I am going to do an overexposure. Now, this part you should understand already. I am going to dial in a one-stop over exposure, and take another shot, and this is definitely better. I have now got detail on the stump, but look what's happening back here in the background. This is going out to almost complete white. I'm losing a lot of details, so that's no good.
So maybe I need to try an underexposure. So I am going to dial down on the meter and then dial down one stop, and here is another one. This one is pretty good. My rock has gone darker, but now I have got detail back there. So which is the right one? Well, any of these are going to require work in my image editor. So what's nice is I have got what's called a bracketed inset of images here. I shot according to have a meter wanted. I did a little bit of overexposure to put some detail back in the shadow areas. I did another shot with underexposure to put detail back in the highlight areas.
I am not sure yet, while I am out here in the field, how to go about fixing that. But thanks to the fact that I have got these three shots, when I get back to my image editor, I've got a lot of different things to try, a lot of different things to play with. That's called bracketing. That's called exposure bracketing. And your camera can actually do it for you with a feature called auto exposure bracketing. When I turn it on, all that's going to happen is when I press the shutter button I got a shot as the camera wants to meter, next time I press it I get a shot that's underexposed, the next time I press it, I get a shot that's overexposed. So I am going to turn that feature on now, and obviously different cameras' controls will be different.
Yours may not look like this. In this case, I am going to dial in a one-stop bracket in both directions. Now, some cameras will allow you to do more than just three exposures, some cameras will allow you to do a seven-stop bracket or some maybe just two-stop bracket. They will also allows you to change how much space happens between each shot: one stop, a third of a stop, 2 stops, 2/3rd of a stop, however much you want. So I have dialed in a one-stop increment. That's going be three shots.
So here comes my shot as metered, now a shot underexposed, now a shot overexposed. So let's add one more wrinkle here. I had to go to the trouble of pressing the shutter button three whole times, and I don't have whole day. My productivity is plummeting by having to do that over and over and over. So I am going to turn on my camera's drive mode, sometimes called burst mode, and the way this works is now as long as I hold the button down, I will get--I will continue to shot exposures. Because auto bracketing is turned on, the bracketing is going be in there also.
So now if I just now push and hold the button, there is three shots automatically bracketed the way that I specified. Auto exposure bracketing with drive mode is also a really good thing to do if you are trying to bracket a shot where something is changing, and you want to be sure that your three frames are as close as possible. So again, to get these images working, I need to take them into my image editor and work with them, but there is something else that I can do with the bracketed set, something called high dynamic range imaging, which is something way beyond scope of this course, but you can learn about it in the "Landscape Photography for Photoshop CS5".
We cover high dynamic range imaging using the same example. If you don't know what that term "dynamic range" means, don't worry. We are going to cover it in detail in the next chapter.
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