Tip of the day (Exposing correctly)

If you have a modern camera, the chances are that the default metering system is ‘center weighted average’, which means that, although it takes an average reading of the whole scene, it takes more notice of what is in the middle of the frame. Which is good news for us. The other good news is that it takes this reading at the time when you take ‘first pressure’ on the button to take your picture. When you push it halfway down and it beeps at you, not only is the focus now set (on an auto focus camera) but the exposure reading is taken and the aperture and shutter speed are set. So, if your main point of interest is not in the ‘center of the frame, it’s a good idea to put it there temporarily while you focus and take your light reading, then move the camera whilst still holding the button halfway down and compose the picture the way you want it to be. A common use for this technique is when you are taking a close up shot of two people and there is space between their heads, if you’re not careful the camera will focus on the wall or trees behind them. If the background is very dark or very light this can alter the exposure significantly and result in faces that are too dark or too light.