I was recently asked to compile ten of my favorite tips and techniques from Light & Exposure for Digital Photographers. Here's a look at what I selected, along with the photos from the book that are used to illustrate each technique or tip and page references to text that explains the technique more thoroughly.
Briefly noted: these are not hardware tips (like what memory card to buy), these are photographic ideas that will help you stretch your technique and help you create the photos you can see in your mind's eye.Top Ten Tips on Light and Exposure
| 1. Choose a wide-open aperture for low depth of field. |
Using aperture-preferred metering or manual exposure control, choose a wide-open aperture such as f/4.0. The resulting low depth of field, possibly combined with motion blur, will create a pleasing effect. (Pages 50-55.)
|2. Use a slow shutter speed to blur the motion of water. |
Fast shutter speeds capture moving water crisply, and slow shutter speeds show water in motion as a blur. To create a very pleasing diffuse blur effect with quickly moving water, try a very long exposure time, for example, about three minutes. (Pages 92-94.)
|3. Boost the IS0 to use noise creatively. |
|4. Don't worry about white balance. |
|5. Use a light box and overexposure to create a transparent effect. |
|6. To get your exposure right at night, try a test exposure at a high ISO. |
|7. Create a studio of your own. |
|8. Use the RAW data in a photo to extend the dynamic range of your images. |
|9. Transform your photos to black and white using color information in the photo. |
|10. Get your camera off automatic. |
When you use auto exposure, you are letting your camera make the important decisions about the exposure of your photos. Take back control! Getting your camera off automatic means learning to really understand exposures. Furthermore, once you know how to set manual exposures you may find that your exposure settings are better and more creative than those the camera would have picked. By using manual exposure, you'll also find out when it is appropriate to use an automatic or semi-automatic exposure mode.
About the Author
Harold Davis is an author, photographer, and expert technologist. Harold's photographs have been widely published, exhibited, and collected. Many of Harold's fine art photography posters are well known, including some recent alternatively processed digital flower images published by New York Graphic Society.
Harold is the author of more than twenty books, and has written (and illustrated with his photographs) Digital Photography: Digital Field Guide (Wiley), The Photographer's Guide to Yosemite and the High Sierra (Countrymen/W.W.Norton), 100 Views of the Golden Gate (Wilderness Press). He is the lead author of a new series of books about digital photography from O'Reilly Digital Media. In addition, Harold has three popular websites (www.digitalfieldguide.com), (www.photoblog2.com), and (www.digitalnight.us) and blogs regularly for O'Reilly Media, Inc.