How to know if you have the correct exposure.

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by ItsssRyne, Apr 14, 2012.

  1. ItsssRyne

    ItsssRyne TPF Noob!

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    Alright so I understand the whole exposure triangle thing. I know that if you adjust shutter speed then you also have to adjust the aperture or iso, and vice versa.

    But what I don't quite get is how to tell if the exposure you have is the correct one for your situation.

    Some instances I find the picture comes out better if it's a little over or underexposed. Is this the correct way to do it or should I get the meter as close to the middle as possible at all times?

    For example, say I'm shooting under a canopy under the shade. It's a little darker here than out in the sun. So to make up for that added darkness I overexpose it just a little so that I can get a better image. Is this ok or am I breaking the rules?
     
  2. SCraig

    SCraig Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Rules are meant to be broken however in photography there are no hard rules, only guidelines and physical laws.

    To check your exposure use the histogram. It will tell you a great deal about the exposure, more than your eyes can.
     
  3. Josh66

    Josh66 Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    It depends on what metering mode you use, and how you meter. What works in Matrix/Evaluative may not work so well in Spot.

    Read up on what each metering mode does and how it works, and you should have a better understanding of when to do what.
     
  4. Lee_Maryland

    Lee_Maryland TPF Noob!

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    How to read a histogram? I know how to get there, but no idea what to look for.
     
  5. ItsssRyne

    ItsssRyne TPF Noob!

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    Alright thank you. I was actually playing around with the metering modes today. Haven't explored that far into it yet. Just want to make sure I'm doing things right and I want to get the best shot out of each situation.

    One of the things I love about photography is that you learn something new with just about every shot.

    Another question I had was how do you get the correct settings on the fly? Numerous times today I was asked to take a picture and I had to ask them to wait a second so I could get the settings right. I noticed they didn't come out nearly as well as opposed to when I had more time.
     
  6. marmots

    marmots No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    i usually just play with it until it looks right
     
  7. Josh66

    Josh66 Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Probably the easiest way is aperture priority. ;) Make sure you are using a metering mode appropriate for the scene though.

    And don't rush it. If you need more time to do it right, take more time.
     
  8. ItsssRyne

    ItsssRyne TPF Noob!

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    Ok that makes sense lol. I've been caught up so much trying to master manual mode that I forgot there were 12 other modes to use.

    So I do know a little about histograms. I know there's close to 250 shades of color on a histogram and it pulls up how intense each one is on your image. (I think)

    A buddy of mine told me that you don't want any one shade too high on a histogram and that it is better if they just about even out. Is this correct?
     
  9. Josh66

    Josh66 Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    ...Sometimes.

    It could make for a very flat (little contrast) photo.

    edit
    The 'not enough time' thing reminded me of something we always say at work... "There's never enough time to do it right, but there's always enough time to do it twice."

    When you rush, you get sub-standard results. So you have to do it over again - it's better to just do it right the first time, even if it takes longer.
     
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  10. SCraig

    SCraig Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    See here: http://www.thephotoforum.com/forum/beyond-basics/278696-help-histogram.html
     
  11. ItsssRyne

    ItsssRyne TPF Noob!

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    Cool, I gotcha. Thank you so much for the advice. :thumbup:
     
  12. TCampbell

    TCampbell Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    The light meter in the camera isn't alway correct. Lots of situations will fool it into suggesting an incorrect exposure. Very dark scenes (e.g. A scene with a few bright objects amongst a very black overall scene) will usually fool the camera into over-exposing. The reverse is true of very white scenes. You could buy a dedicated "incident" light meter to get more accurate exposure readings, but one you learn what sorts of things throw off the built-in light meter you probably won't use it very much. Bryan Peterson's book "Understanding Exposure" will probably give you a pretty good grounding on the topic.
     

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