Sunday, February 3, 2013

Photography Training: How to Choose the Correct Exposure.

Photography Training: How to Choose the Correct Exposure.

Hey should you even worry about the "Correct Exposure"
Who said everything has to be correct? Wait, Don't tell my Mom I said that!
When I was in college studying photography I could never figure out to my satisfaction how to determine the correct exposure. On day after class I asked one of my professors how to get the most correct exposure. His answer surprised me. He said "The correct exposure is up to you". So what did he mean? Well, the correct exposure is the one you choose. Images that are overexposed or underexposed and be correct, or they can be wrong too. Exposure has to be determined on every shot you take and adjusted to get the response you want. You probably think I am crazy right now, right? 
Here is an example of what I mean.  On almost all of my portraits I overexpose by at least 2 stops. If I didn't the people I photograph would have very dark faces and perfectly exposed background. Are you confused? don't worry. Everyone is at this point.
There are 4 things that determine a correct exposure
Exposure consists of four factors:
  1. how much light is in front of you.
  2. how sensitive the film is to light or ISO
  3. the amount of light going through a lens or the Aperture
  4. how long the film is exposed or also called Shutter Speed
The trick is to balance all of these to get the best shot.  Is it safe to say if your photo is too dark it is underexposed or if it is too light it is overexposed. I don't think so.  But that's what you have to decided. Does your image look best if it is lighter or darker. It will determine the mood and feeling of your shot. When I take a shot I think about how it will look after I print it. When it comes to portraits I usually overexpose my subjects. Sometimes I also underexpose my images to get the shot I want. It has to be determined on an individual basis. 

 If you have a camera that has AE or Exposure Compensation fiddle around with it. You can create lots of interesting images by messing around with exposure.

 On one of my film cameras there is no light meter. I guess on the exposure and some of those shots are my most popular images. Most of the shots is way underexposed, but it has the perfect exposure for the look I wanted. 

What I am saying is that when it comes to taking an image with perfect exposure, I usually don't worry about it. Perfect exposed images usually equals a boring image. So have fun and experiment.
Here is a great video and below I have some shots taken with my film camera where I don't use a light meter.

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missoula photography school photo missoula-photography-school7_zps1fe625dd.jpg

This shot was underexposed quite a bit.

 photo oldboat.jpg
Another underexposed shot.

 photo yellow-00033.jpg
And another underexposed shot!

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And Another underexposed shot!

missoula photography school photo missoula-photography-school1_zpsc32294fb.jpg

This one is overexposed! Haha, bet you were wondering when that would end!!

If you have questions please leave a comment. I do read everyone and I answer back!

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1 comment:

  1. I found this article quite interesting. For some time now I have been underexposing my photographs. I like them this way and I believe others do as well, but I was starting to wonder if I was correct. This article definitely put those thoughts into perspective. Thanks.