January 05, 2005

Exposure Bracketing

over exposure

This photo was over-exposed
by almost 2 stops

Today's project focuses on exposure. The idea here is to play around with your exposure settings and try to get some photos that are intentionally over and under-exposed.

Why do this? Shouldn't all photographs be exposed so that colors are balanced and there is detail throughout the picture? Most of the time the answer is yes.

That stunning landscape should be properly exposed. So should the pictures that you take on your next vacation. Photos of your child's birthday party will look odd if they are all under-exposed.

But every so often you are going to want a different look. Something that makes an ordinary photo extraordinary. You can get this look if you bracket exposures.

Here's how it works. Set your digital camera to its manual setting. Adjust the shutter speed and aperture so that the scene is correctly exposed (your light meter will let you know when it is). Take a photo.

Now, over-expose the photo by two stops. Many cameras will indicate this by displaying a +2 symbol on the LCD. Take a photo.

Under-expose by two stops. The camera should now be showing you a -2 on the display. Take a photo.

Change your subject and repeat.

More often than not the results won't be very interesting. That's why 9 times out of 10 you want to properly expose your photo. But every so often, especially with portraits of people, you might be very surprised by the results you get.

The great thing about working with digital photography is that you can experiment like this and no one ever has to see the crummy photos you take. Save one brilliant one, and take that to share with your friends.

Posted by Chris at January 5, 2005 07:57 PM

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