Beyond Average Photography

October 27, 2015

Beyond Average Photography


If you do some research with regards to metering on cameras, you will find the dreaded 18% grey being quoted, so what is this all about?

Well, your camera not only expects a scene to average out as mid-gray, this means that it is therefore programmed to set the exposure ensuring that your DSLR delivers this mid-gray average so everything being seen by the camera comes out of the camera at this middle grey!

Now this isn’t always the case of course, because depending on reflective light the scene will change, a snowy landscapes, the beach on a sunny day, or when you’re shooting into the sun or the Brides wedding dress, then you have the opposite, perhaps you are photographing a Black lab or the Groom and his Groomsmen’s black suits, so what on earth does your camera think you are photographing, well, the Brides wedding dress is reflecting light and the camera thinks to itself, thats very bright, I need to reduce the exposure in order to bring the image back to 18% grey and what happens to that stunning wedding dress, well, it comes out grey!

That beautiful Black Lab, well this time your camera thinks someone has turned the lights out, so it says to itself, wow its gone very dark so Im going to increase the exposure and that lovely little dog turns out Grey and in the words of Jamie Lawson “wasn’t expecting that”

Yes thats right your DSLR will most probably be fooled into producing a shot that is darker or lighter than expected. The camera will darken down a particularly bright scene to meet its preprogrammed mid-gray, so that mean and moody Somerset night scene that you wanted to photograph will be brightened up, those black shadows turn out mid-gray and you will find that photo has lost its atmosphere.

Dont start beating the living daylights out of your prized DSLR hasn’t really failed its because your camera doesn’t know what it’s looking, is that a Bride in her wedding dress, is that a somerset landscape or the city skyline of Bath?

Modern camera’s are amazing pieces of technology but at the end of the day they are still just lumps of metal, plastic, and glass. This is why I say many times, you need a professional photographer to capture your wedding, if you book someone who just sets their latest DSLR to auto and shoots away at some crazy shutter speed, you will be disappointed at the results, if its important to you to have wedding images you are thrilled with.

I suppose you could say that one good thing is that your camera will be consistent in getting it wrong because it’s not trying to second-guess the situation, your camera will repeatedly fall short in similar situations, so what you need to learn is to predict when its going to get the scene completely wrong or when it might struggle, then if you wish to shoot in Priority mode you can compensate by using exposure compensation. I personally still dislike exposure compensation because I wouldn’t really know what the camera is altering in order to get the exposure!

So now we can practice this; point your camera at something white, fill the lens with this item take the photo your shot will be underexposed, now take a photo of something Black and youll see the resulting image is probably over exposed.

If you are using Priority mode, adjust the exposure using the exposure compensation dial and you will find the image looks more correctly exposed however you could just take the bull by the horns and learn to take photographs using Manual!

For lots more tips please visit


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