Three Tools to Nail Your Exposure Everytime

Relying on your camera screen to nail exposure is a sure recipe for disaster. Depending on the lighting situation, the contrast of your display, how it’s back-lit, as well as other parameters, you’ll see the luminosity values differently. To make sure you get it perfect, there are tools available to you. In this 10-minute long video, Haapoja from TravelFeels will list most of them and explain which is best for what situation.

Whether you are shooting videos or stills, it doesn’t matter, exposure is crucial and having it right on set is always better than tweaking it in post-production. The screen on the back of your camera is a great indicator to get a starting point, but it’s probably not perfect. I’d personally instead use it to check composition rather than exposure and colors.

Depending on your camera, and the accessories you use with it, you can, however, make the most out of your screen and limit the use a light or flash meter. From waveforms to histograms, without forgetting about false color, Haapoja explain them all in the above video. Even if you are a photographer, you should definitely take the time to watch this, because there are some methods less known in the photography industry, but that could definitely benefit our work.

Do you rely on such tools to get your exposure right in camera? Or do you base your settings on what you see on the screen? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.

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8 Comments

Every time I see perfectly exposed nice looking photo on a backscreen, I know that I need to add 1.33 in post.

romain VERNEDE's picture

call me oldschool,but I use incident metering and my lightmeter has a correction of +1,33.
Exposure it spot on, colors are right...I just have to adjust other things to reach what I wanted to achieve...

Sorry, didn’t mention that it’s for event type of work.

David Penner's picture

Its sorta weird that he never brought up using zebras. Pretty much all the mirrorless cameras have that built in. Hell Im pretty sure a lot of the stuff that he talked about can be added onto your Canon by loading ml on but Canon would give him shit if he dared talking about that.. Lol

Yup, zebras on Sonys make exposing a piece of cake. Easy to take full advantage of the DR available.

Samuel Flores Sanchez's picture

ufffff, like photographer, the wave-form is really a histogram but instead of "from left to right", the information is in place. And the false color looks very clear once you get used to it. I don't know how much can contribute again a classic histogram and, we can say, clipping alerts. I suppose is a matter of taste in the end.

For me the histogram is neat and more práctical if you go for the better exposure póssible. But these new tools can be good if you go for a perfect exposure in a specific zone of your frame and you are willing to sacrifice highlights or shadows for having that area right.
I don't imagine any scenario where you need that kind of precision, I mean if you are using a decent camera. I don't say it doesn't exist, only I can't imagine now

David Penner's picture

The only time its critical is for actual production style work. For the majority of people its not going to matter since we dont have the option of actually setting up lighting to fix the issues. If you are at the point in your career where having perfect or close to perfect lighting is critical you should be able to just look at a scene and know what is going to work and not work. For example you are shooting towards the sun. If you need to even use the histogram to realize that its gonna be blown out it might be time to step back and learn how your camera works. Not go out and spend hundreds or thousands of dollars on a monitor for your camera. Lol

Yes, but the kind of monitor that he is talking about is $500. Some that have these features are less, and I think the takeaway is that if you are still learning exposure these features will help you understand what you are exposing better until you get to the point where things become more intuitive.