ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Exposure Compensation with DSLR

Updated on April 3, 2013

Exposure Compensation:

is a technique used to control the amount of light entering the lens to enhance the light distribution.

Exposure compensation adjusts the exposure according to either the aperture and the shutter speed or both depending on the camera mode, if it in Aperture priority (A.v) then the f-number changes and in Shutter priority (T.v) the exposure time or shutter speed changes, and in manual mode, both are affected. Some digital cameras may also alter the ISO if it’s set in Auto.

Exposure compensation will be used when there is a high contrast in lighting or unusual lighting distribution in the scene. Selecting the right Exposure Value (E.V) will uniformly expose both the dark and bright areas.

Exposure values are ‘stops’ that refer to various combinations of shutter speed and aperture. They may have a minimum value of -6EV and a maximum value of +6EV but common values are -2 and +2 with increments of ½ EV or 1/3 EV per ’stop’. Some cameras do have ‘stops’ of a 1 or even ¼ EV where 1EV is equal to doubling the exposure. When you increase these EV you slow down the shutter speed or widen the aperture to have more exposure and vice versa. So to darken a photograph you decrease the Exposure value (-).

canon settings
canon settings

Exposure compensation will be used when there is a high contrast of lighting in the scene, for instance when the subject is well lit while the background is not, the subject may get over exposed and when the subject is darker than the background, the subject will get under-exposed. Exposure compensation on the camera will allow more light from the dark-lit areas to go through in order to expose those areas hence retaining details in all areas.

In areas where is a great contrast in lighting, i.e, very bright and very dark, you will need to reduce the exposure so that you do not over-expose the bright areas since dark area preserve details better than bright areas. You can go on to edit the picture later in post-production. Also do not under expose you image too much since details will be lost in very dark areas.

There is a way employed by professional cameras to ensure to take a photograph with the right exposure, its exposure bracketing.

In this setting you take three successive shots each with a different exposure. The first shot is with the exposure compensation recommended by the camera (0), in the second shot the exposure is increased by 1 value (+1) or over-exposed and the third shot the exposure is decreased by 1 value (-1) or under-exposed. The difference in the exposure of your shots will depend on how you have set the camera in either ¼ EV, ½ EV, 1/3EV etc. With some cameras it is possible to take even up to six shot with different exposures successively.

Exposure bracketing/AEB

Exposure bracketing/AEB

When AEB is selected, the camera automatically takes three successive shots with different exposure in each shot. This will ensure at least one shot will be close to perfectly exposed as possible.

Exposure bracketing in Manual mode, it overrides the camera settings automatically. When you change either the shutter speed or the aperture the camera automatically shifts the exposure values of all the three shots by either increasing or decreasing. When you set a faster shutter speed or wide aperture value, the camera will automatically decrease the exposure values, and when you set lowers shutter speed or narrow aperture, the camera will automatically increase the exposure values. This is to compensate lighting.

Unlike in manual mode, in Shutter priority (T.v), Aperture priority (A.v), and Program Modes you first set your favourable exposure value manually using the shift key e.g. Canon 1100D, then you adjust the Main Knob to set vary the stop values of –ve and +ve.

For you to set the three different exposures, you will have to select expo.comp./AEB Settings, then rotate Main Knob of your camera to change the stops, failure of that all your three shot will have the same exposure compensation, i.e no difference.


White balance bracketing

It is used to adjust the colours, it’s a perfect way to deal with mixed lighting

You can set the white balance manually, by selecting WB Shift/BKT setting on the menu, a graph is displayed, press the shift buttons/navigation keys, the left side shifts the colours towards the blue colour, right side shifts towards amber (red) colour, upper side shifts towards green while the lower side will shift your colours towards magenta.

For you to set a white balancing bracketing, you rotate the Main Knob clockwise or anti-clockwise to adjust the extent of bracketing and then shift/navigating keys to move the bracketing towards a certain colour and click OK button, or you only need to press the shutter release button once and you will get three shots with varying white balance.

To reset, you press the Display button or turn off the camera.

Flash bracketing

It is used to adjust the amount of light that the flash gives out.

On Canon 1100D, you can decrease the value up to -2 and a maximum of +2

To set on your camera, go to menu-flash control, select Built-in flash function or External flash function setting.

Flash bracketing is not automatic in many digital cameras and you will have to set it manually after you take each shot.

varying the flash exposure levels
varying the flash exposure levels

ISO bracketing

The ISO is changed automatically by processing the raw sensor data to give different ISI’s prior to the image being saved on the memory of the camera. The aperture and shutter speed remain constant.

NB: when you switch off the camera, all exposure compensation and bracketing settings are reset to zero.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)