Smarter Exposure Than Your Camera

Still Life Grasses in High Key

If you want to produce a high key effect, one in which there is a strong sense of light and brightness, one of the requirements is a (usually) white background. But all the white confuses your camera into thinking there is way more light in the scene than there should be. So the camera, left to its own decisions, makes the photo too dark, destroying the high key look you want.

The solution is to tell the camera to "overexpose" the picture. In effect, you are forcing the camera to add back the light it took out of the scene. The control to accomplish this is called exposure compensation. It is usually indicated by a +/- symbol either on a button or in a menu choice. Adjusting exposure compensation to the plus (+) side makes the picture brighter.

The exposure compensation control applies in semi-automatic exposure modes like Program or Aperture Priority. It has no effect in completely automatic settings (green square) or manual exposure mode where you make all the exposure decisions.

Learn more controls to make photos you like in Getting to Know Your Digital Camera, meeting September 25, 2021, in person in Missoula, Montana. Click here to register.