A common photography problem: underexposed digital photos
Digital cameras are becoming more and more sophisticated. On one hand they allow high quality automatic point and shoot. On the other hand they allow full manual control of their settings. Regardless of the mode you use there are some scenes that require special care. Without such care your digital photos will be of poor quality regardless of how sophisticated and automatic your camera is.
New digital cameras include sophisticated hardware and software that allow a simple point a shoot usage and result in high quality digital photos. Such high quality digital photos are achieved in most scenarios but in some scenarios solely relying on the cameras automatic feature is not enough. In such scenes the camera hardware and software will make the wrong decision as to the optimal camera setting for the best digital photo. The result will be a poor quality photo.
Being aware of such scenarios can help in avoiding such poor quality digital photos. When you identify such a scenario you can use some simple techniques, by manually setting the camera, by changing the photo shooting angle or by manipulating the scene.
One of the common problems with automatic digital camera photo shooting is digital photos that are underexposed. Underexposed digital photos look dark and lack details. Their color is not rich and the objects tend to look grayish and not “alive”. The reason for underexposed photos is setting the exposure too low. Although the camera can measure ambient light and make the exposure decisions for you it can be confused by scenes that are more complex. Many times such scenes do not really have one perfect exposure setting and the best exposure depends on the results and the objects in the scene that you care about the most.
For example if there is a very bright light source in the photo it can confuse the camera to believe that there is enough light in the scene for a low exposure setting. The result will be a photo that captures the bright area but darkens all the others. Usually you can assume that scenes that have extreme lighting gaps between different areas confuse the camera – for example if a quarter of the photo is very bright and the rest is very dark the camera is likely to set the wrong exposure. When you identify such cases you can manually set the exposure to the right value for the results you are looking for. Another options is to pan the camera a bit and point to a scene that does not have such light gaps (for example that does not have a very bright object in it) but that its objects are in the same focus distance as the scene you are planning to shoot. At that point you can press the shutter half way down (or use any other specific camera mechanism) in order to lock the camera focus and exposure settings. Once
you have done that you can pan the camera back to the original scene and shoot the photo.
The best way to learn how to avoid underexposed digital photos is by experimenting and practicing. Try to find scenes that will confuse the digital camera into taking underexposed digital photos. Take a few digital photos using the camera automatic mode and review the results confirming the expected poor quality. Now correct the problem and take a few more photos. Review the new digital photos and make sure that indeed the underexposed digital photos problem is gone. Practicing in a controlled environment will help you be prepared to quickly and efficiently handle such scenes in real time photo shooting.
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