Evolution of an exposure

To help you see how to expose something well, here’s a way – the thought process that might go through your head.

Of course the way to guarantee a right exposure is one of:

  1. Use a grey card and spot meter off that.
  2. Use an incident light meter.

But failing that, you can do it with the in camera meter, if you are willing to go through a little bit of a process. With experience this comes were quick indeed.

First, shoot:

Uh oh, too light. Oh yeah… plants are dark. But the camera does not know it is shooting plants, so they look “normally bright”.

The histogram for this shot shows this:

Yeah, a general “normal” exposure.

You could now stop and pull the exposure back in Lightroom alter, of course (exposing to the right, a good technique to get best quality and lowest noise), and that would be fine.

But let’s say you want to expose well in the camera. Then find the right exposure… say -1 to -2 stops of exposure compensation.

And that gives you a proper hedge row:

Proven by the now correct-for-the-scene histogram:

But the colour. Mmm. Wonder if switching to “cloudy” or “shade” might give you a less blue, more green plant?

Evidently yes. See the histogram: the blue is pulled back:

And so that is how you might make an exposure without a grey card or incident light meter. A little thought is all that is required – and the histogram helps!


2 thoughts on “Evolution of an exposure

  1. thanks for the explanation. But, how about if the subject and object is white or black. How do we handle them.

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