Exposure Compensation


The exposing compensation feature is available in most DSLR cameras, which allows you to make adjustments on the exposure setting through the light meter of the camera. What does the exposure compensation really mean? And how can we make use of it for making the shooting results better?

Below is the clarification for what exposure compensation is.

What Is Exposure Compensation?

The exposure compensating button is represented by the + and – icon in a DSLR camera. When you hold down it, you will see a line graph which has the numbers in the range between -2 and +2 (sometimes, it ranges from -3 to +3) and the mark at increments of 1/3. These have been known as EV settings. By setting the EV numbers, you will have a larger or smaller amount of light which comes into the camera. They are, in turn, the positive and negative exposure compensation.

How can you understand this in practical photography? Let’s me take an example in which the shutter speed is 1/125 and the aperture is f5.6. Then, if you set the exposure compensation to be +1EV, the aperture will be opened up to by one stop to f4. In this case, you are setting the over-exposure effectively. The thing is in the opposite direction if the EV number is set negative.

Why Is Exposure Compensation Needed?

Most photographers shall wonder about the reason why the exposure compensation is needed. I will show you a simple answer: In some certain situations, the camera light meter may be fooled. One of the very typical cases for this is when the light is abundant around the targeted subject…for instance, if the snow  surrounds a building. You can easily see the way that the DSLR possibly attempts to set the exposure for this bright light is to lower the aperture setting and increase the shutter speed. Finally, the targeted subject can be under-exposed.

By setting the exposure compensation to be positive, the subject will certainly get the correct exposure. And as you can set this in 1/3 increments, it can hopefully help to prevent the rest of the photos from being too much exposed. But don’t forget that the adverse thing shall happen in cases of not enough light.

Exposure Bracketing

Sometimes, for the complicated lighting situations, the exposure bracketing will be very useful if I want to take a valuable and one-chance-only image. You can understand the bracketing in a simple way that there are three available options for taking one shot, including: negative, positive exposure compensating and a suggested number by the camera light meter.

In a lot of DSLR cameras, you will see the Automatic Exposure Bracketing feature (abbreviated as AEB), in which you just need to shoot one time to have three photography results. It is common to see three settings for the three options: -1/3EV, no EV, and +1/3EV, although sometimes, it requires to select specific negative and positive compensation numbers in certain DSLR models.

In addition, compared to adjusting the ISO setting, the exposure compensation can be a better solution as you often see more noise when you increase the ISO number.

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