In this exercise I have taken 5x images of the same subject to learn how the deliberate choice to slightly over or under-expose may sometimes benefit the picture.
The first as recommended by the camera’s light meter, the second half-stop darker, third one-stop darker, fourth half-stop lighter and fifth one-stop lighter.
This exercise is typically known as ‘Bracketing’ and this idea originates from the days of film photography. When a subject has both challenging contrasts of light and shade photographers would often take 3 or 5 shots at different exposures to try to get an image that was closest to capturing detail in both dark areas of an image and in the bright areas. Starting from the light meters recommended exposure to above and below in half or one-stop increments. Manufactures such as Nikon added this as a feature in their later SLRs and for the newer DSLRs keeping the name ‘Bracketing’. This useful feature will automatically alter the exposure for the chosen number of shots from half-stop to one-stop increments with the choice of number of shots from 3, 5, 7, etc. With the advent of digital photography and the development of software to manipulate the digital images ‘Bracketing’ has become a new science and art-form in the photography world with the development of High Dynamic Range (HDR) software that can combine all the bracketed images into one picture that can now make possible the inclusion of all the detail in both bright areas and dark areas of a scene that previously was not. This however, often makes for a very hard / gritty contrasty type of image limiting their use.
1a 2a 3a 4a 5a
1b 2b 3b 4b 5b
1c 2c 3c 4c 5c
1d 2d 3d 4d 5d
1e 2e 3e 4e 5e
My selection of best images are as follows:
1c This provides the most contrast in the detail of the stone figure with shadows offering a good sense of texture and form. This image is one-stop over the recommended exposure as indicated through my camera’s light meter.
2a In this subject I think that the recommended exposure works best.
3c Again the darker, one-stop above recommended exposure works best for Holly’s fur coat.
4d I feel that this image looks best, half-stop brighter than the suggested exposure giving an up beat / high-key tone.
5a I believe that this is the best choice and is the exposure recommended by my camera’s light meter. It has some rim-light that helps him stand out from the background and there is sufficient contrast for a modelling affect.
Basics Photography 07, Exposure. by David Prakel. Published by AVA Publishing