How do I know when I have got a "correct exposure"

Started Mar 24, 2010 | Discussions thread
wilsonlab Forum Member • Posts: 62
Re: you know you have the correct exposure when

comeon wrote:

you have the results "you" like ..and that may or may not be the same as what anyone else likes

Great answer!! Not really.

NPA, more often than not it is best to shoot in Av or Tv mode. Before you take a picture you have to mentally scan through a checklist of the shot you are trying to take. Is the subject moving or stationary. What depth of field do you want? How well is the lighting? etc. etc.

First start with the iso in the lower range, 100-250

Usually when shooting moving subjects you can get away with Tv and set the shutter speed fast enough to avoid motion blur. If you are shooting sports and are looking for bokeh (out of focus background) keep cranking your shutter speed up until you are at your lenses widest aperature, and the metering system in the viewfinder is at 0 (ie proper exposure). Only when you lense is wide open/lowest f number, and your shutter speed is still too slow to avoid motion blur do you resort to raising the iso, (low light situation)

Creative shots, ie out of focus background, selective focus, etc. Put camera in Av mode, the lower the f number, the smaller the amount of area in the frame that will be in focus. And clearly, a larger f number will allow more to be in focus. a high enough f number will eventually result in to infinity focus, ie everything in the frame will be in focus. This is comonly used in landscapes, architecture shots, etc. Only when the f number you desire doesn't allow a shutter speed fast enough for you to take handheld shots do you resort to raising the iso. When taking shots of stationary subjects, naturally a tripod is preferred over raising the iso.

Manual is good for tricky lighting situations. example, you're shooting a black Labrador retriever in the snow. Your cameras exposure meter is going to read the bright white snow and underexpose/darken the shot trying to make the snow not come out too bright/overexposed. Meanwhile the poor dark dog comes out as a black shadow. This is where you have to use manual mode to dial in tricky exposures that your camera cannot handle. Here you also have to start considering other things such as metering modes.

Obviously this isn't the definitive way to shoot, many people have different styles, methods, some shoot in manual full time, I feel like its not always necessary. The more you shoot the more you will get a feel of roughly what iso, aperture, and shutter speeds you will need before you even look at the exposure meter. I do know reading info books is helpful, but the only way to learn exposure is by getting to know your camera and shooting.

Some great hands on experience shots. Find some running water, even if you're letting water from the faucet pour over and upside down bowl. rocky, rapids, type water, even in a small creek is better. Using a tripod in Tv mode shoot at 1/250 sec, 1/15 sec, 1/3 sec, 1 sec, etc and monitor the results. Use a tripod

Set up camera on a tripod, shoot passing cars in the same manner/different shutter speeds. Take camera off tripod, set shutter speed to 1/2 sec, 1/4 sec or somewhere in that range. As cars pass steadily follow the them getting accustomed to panning with the car. After a few practice runs fire a photo while panning.

Set up a row of things running parallel to the lens. shoot at low and high f numbers. Use your cameras selective focus and focus on each one separately with the lenses lowest f number.

There, those few practice/experience shots are the first few weeks of a standard photography class. Enjoy

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