There is a setting on your camera called Exposure Compensation Value or EV.

Exposure compensation (EV) can be used if a picture turns out too dark or too bright. The EV adjustment fixes it.

There are three interdependent variables in digital photography.

Shutter Speed


Film Speed

Throughout the pages of this site I talk about how these three interrelate. For now just remember each will affect the other two. When you understand and find the correct balance your snapshots will transform into photographs.

In any program mode the camera does not always make the right choices for a properly exposed picture. In other words the camera balances out the three variables listed above in an electronic way; many times it's not the way you desire. To compensate for it you change the exposure compensation value accordingly.

The first picture below was shot in aperture priority. I took the picture just the way the camera showed it would look best. You can see it is pretty dark. Often this will happen when you are shooting in the shade.

The camera wants to balance out the sunny area with the shady area. This will result in neither being correctly exposed. You can change your metering mode to “Center Weighted” metering, but I find many times this doesn’t work well either.

Rather than that I prefer to use the exposure compensation. I won’t even get into exactly what happens within your camera. Whatever the camera does; the important thing is the end result. That is a properly exposed picture.

What I did in the pictures above, is known as bracketing. The first picture, set at 0.0, was too dark. For comparison purposes, I reset the EV to -1.0. This resulted in the second picture above, which is even darker. Then I brightened it up by setting my E.V. to +1.0 which resulted in the bottom picture.

EV is adjustable in increments of 1/3, 1/2, or a full stop depending on your camera.

I still didn’t quite like the result in the third picture so I reworked it in Photoshop a little. You can see the subtle but necessary difference below. The top picture is before post editing of the properly exposed shot, and the bottom, after.

By combining knowledge in the field with a little post editing I ended up with what I consider a beautiful photograph. It’s crisp, colorful and bright without being washed out.

Had I not been familiar with the exposure compensation settings on my camera I would have just dumped the shot. Yet this is a photograph I am proud to display.

"Exposure Compensation" is 2 pages.

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