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The Exposure Compensation dial

From: Photography 101

Video: The Exposure Compensation dial

The Exposure Compensation dial on your camera allows you to compensate for the exposure. That the camera has figured out when it's in one of the automatic or semi-automatic modes. So, for example, if you're shooting in After priority, Shutter priority, or even in a fully auto mode. And you take a picture and you look at it and you decide that it's too dark or too light. Instead of having to switch over to manual and try to figure out what the setting should be. You can simply adjust the Exposure Compensation dial to make it a little bit brighter or a little bit darker. And this can come in handy in a situation like this. I have my model Jackie standing in front of this church, and as you can see, we have a big bright sky behind us. So what I'm going to do is frame the shot so that I get a lot of sky in the picture, and that's going to confuse the meter.

The Exposure Compensation dial

The Exposure Compensation dial on your camera allows you to compensate for the exposure. That the camera has figured out when it's in one of the automatic or semi-automatic modes. So, for example, if you're shooting in After priority, Shutter priority, or even in a fully auto mode. And you take a picture and you look at it and you decide that it's too dark or too light. Instead of having to switch over to manual and try to figure out what the setting should be. You can simply adjust the Exposure Compensation dial to make it a little bit brighter or a little bit darker. And this can come in handy in a situation like this. I have my model Jackie standing in front of this church, and as you can see, we have a big bright sky behind us. So what I'm going to do is frame the shot so that I get a lot of sky in the picture, and that's going to confuse the meter.

So let's take a look at what we get to start. (audio playing) So as you can see, this photo's a bit too dark. The sky being so bright has completely confused the meter. I included so much of the sky that the camera thought that, well, the sky was a prominent part of the photo, when in fact it wasn't. And so the photo is dramatically underexposed. It's too dark. So I could recompose the picture, but that's not what I want to do. I want to shoot it the way that I framed it. So now what I'll do is adjust the Exposure Compensation dial and make it a little bit brighter. I'll start by going one stop brighter and then I'll go to two stops and we'll see what the difference is.

(audio playing) So now as we compare these two shots side by side, you can see that one is a little bit brighter. And the other one is quite a bit brighter and actually looks like a good exposure. So by simply adjusting the Compensation dial, I've managed to fix that photo. Without having to go into manual mode, and mess around with figuring out what the settings should have been. So the Aperture Compensation dial is a really really handy tool. Just don't forget to set it back to zero after you've made a shot like this.

Or else the next shot you make will also be over or under exposed.

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Photography 101

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Joseph Linaschke
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