Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Point and Shoot: Exposure Compensation

To learn about exposure, read this first.

Typically point and shoot cameras do a good job of properly exposing images, but sometimes our pictures are just too dark or too light. Thankfully, there is a simple way to adjust how bright or dark our pictures are as we take them (which is much better than trying to adjust them later on the computer.)
Not every camera is the same (and there are hundreds of different point and shoot models out there,) but every one I've owned or used has an exposure compensation function. The exposure compensation allows you to increase or decrease the exposure making your picture either lighter or darker. Typically you access this option by pressing a "function" button (or something similar) on the back of the camera. Then navigate to a symbol that looks something like +/-0. Once you have highlighted the +/-0 you can usually adjust it to +.3 , +.7 , +1 . . . or -.3 , .-7 , -1 . . . If you take a picture that is too dark, you want to add to the exposure, so adjust this function to +.3 and try again. If it's still too dark, try +.7 and so on. On the other hand, if your picture is too bright, use the numbers with a minus. Here's how it works . . .
This picture is taken at the default settings (+/-0) and is too dark:
I adjusted the exposure compensation to +1 and took this one:
This is a simple was to improve your pictures under challenging lighting conditions.