Photography Cheat Sheet: Quick Exposure Compensation Guide

Not quite sure yet how exposure compensation works? We have just the cheat sheet that will serve as your quick guide.

Exposure compensation is among the nifty tools you have at your disposal to ensure properly-exposed photos and give the results you want. So, it definitely pays to know how it works. If you’ve yet to master it, today’s featured photography cheat sheet has everything you need to know to get the hang of exposure compensation on your next shoot.

In their quick guide below, Digital Camera World first shows what exposure compensation can do for your shots. Then, it explains what exactly this feature is, why you should use it when you shoot, and when it’s especially useful.

With exposure compensation, you can easily achieve different degrees of darkness or brightness in your photos. While the built-in exposure metering system of digital cameras can work out the brightness of the scene you’re trying to photograph, it’s not infallible. Some scenes will call for small corrections to the meter readings so the photos won’t look too bright or too dark. Aside from that, you can also use exposure compensation to deliberately brighten or darken your photos for artistic reasons and creative effects.

Exposure compensation is also particularly useful for situations your camera will typically assess incorrectly. A good example of this is having a subject positioned in front of a window – a scene that your camera will most likely capture as a silhouette. If this is not your intention, use the exposure compensation to expose for the face and brighten the image instead. In contrast, when you have a subject set against a dark background, your camera may try to compensate for it and brighten the shot too much.

As a bonus, the guide also includes some basics for reading the histogram – another useful tool for determining exposure accurately and evaluating how much exposure compensation your shot needs. It also defines some terms related to exposure compensation, so you have a clear idea of what they mean when you come across them in tutorials or on your camera settings.

Check out the rest of our nifty photography cheat sheets for more useful tips and tricks for your next shoot!