When Not to Use Exposure Compensation

Exposure compensation is a technique that has become common practice in modern photography, and is a useful tool for correcting exposure problems caused by the way that the internal light meters work in modern cameras.

Understanding Exposure

Essentially, the dominant feature of the image dictates the automatic exposure settings generated by the camera's electronics. A large, dark image against a light background will tell the camera that the image is too dark and needs a large exposure setting. This washes out the color and detail of the background. Alternatively, a bright patch will tell the camera that too much light is coming in and the camera will decrease the exposure, causing the darker areas to be underexposed. Exposure correction allows the photographer to override the automatic exposure settings and to increase or decrease the exposure as needed to obtain the best overall image.

When Not to Use Exposure Compensation

Unfortunately, many photographers make the mistake of overusing the exposure compensation feature of their camera. Images that do not have sharp areas of contrast or a dominant feature that contrasts markedly with the rest of the photograph, do not require exposure compensation. Using the feature in these circumstances will create raw files that are missing data necessary for optimal results.

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