Wednesday 30 April 2008

Wedding Photography Skills - Exposure Compensation

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Exposure compensation is a key skill for any photographer to acquire, and if you shoot weddings you'll find yourself using it a lot. Subjects framed by very bright sources of light are commonly encountered as people enter buildings and during the wedding meal, particularly when photographing the speeches - see the photo above taken at Chris and Sue's wedding. There are a number of options for dealing with this scenario, such as fill-in flash, centre-weighted or spot metering but I prefer to leave my camera in evaluative metering mode and manually compensate for exposure. You need to have a good 'feel' for your camera's exposure system to be spot-on, but shooting RAW gives you increased latitude for making exposure adjustments if you're not. I use a Canon EOS 5D which is programmed to spot classic under-exposure scenarios but I know that it will under-expose a shot such as the above. In this case I manually dialled in exposure compensation of +1 EV (exposure value) - in photographers' parlance I 'over-exposed by one stop', ie let in twice as much light as the camera thought would be required for a correct exposure. More about exposure will follow.

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