Exposure & the Light Meter

What is Exposure?
The term has film photography roots; but you only need to know that a Correct Exposure will result in an image that has balanced light values, ie:

    • Darks not too dark (Under-Exposure)
    • Lights not too light. (Over-Exposure)

A Visual Example
Take a look at how the details are lost to the light in the overexposure and lost to the dark in the underexposure.
exposure comparison

How Do I Get a Correct Exposure?
Your Camera has a built-in Light Meter that will tell you when your exposure is right.

The Light Meter
Many people will buy a digital SLR and never understand the Light Meter; even though its use is imperative to getting a “Correct Exposure”.
The light meter is not complicated or hard to learn.
I’m going to teach you right now.

Find the Light Meter
Look through your Viewfinder and find the Light Meter; it looks something like this.

lightmeter bright lightmeter dark
In order to get a “Correct Exposure” you’ll want a neutrally lit part of your scene to read as below on the Light Meter:lightmeter  centered

A Visual Example
Lets look at that Exposure Comparison again, but this time include the Light Meter and how it would have looked at the time of the shot.

exposure comparison 2

Getting a Correct Exposure
Obviously you cant just limit yourself to taking pictures of things that are in certain levels of neutral light (Boy, would that be insane!).

Using the dials on your camera while in Manual Mode will allow you to “dial in” a correct exposure for every scene. This is where Aperture and Shutter Speed come into play.


Next Up: Aperture & Depth of Field

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