You have a neat little setting that you can use to help your camera make better exposure decisions. It will work in any mode that you choose to be in, expect Manual. That setting is Exposure Compensation. If you are making images and they are coming out overexposed (to bright) or underexposed (to dark) you can use this setting to help bring the exposure inline with what you expect or want it to be. You might even find that you prefer to leave it on a particular setting. For example, I leave the exposure compensation my Nikon D2x at -0.7 all the time. I like a slightly underexposed image and I find that my D2x overexposes just a little for my taste. Leaving the exposure compensation set all the time allows me to walk around with my camera in Aperture Priority mode being ready for images as they might present themselves.
Using Exposure Compensation is pretty easy. All you have to do is dial in the amount of compensation you want. The tricky part is knowing how much compensation you want to add or subtract. You will get the hang of it with practice. Start by making an image of what you want to photograph and look at it on your camera’s LCD screen. Are you getting some “blinkies” (flashing from white to black) in the highlights or is there very little detail in the shadows? If either is the case and you would like to correct that then go to the Exposure Compensation setting and dial it up or down as needed. The negative (-) side of the scale will darken your image and the positive (+) side of the scale will brighten your image. Make another image and see if you like the results. Repeat if necessary until you like the exposure you are getting.
You may have noticed that I said I walk around with my camera in Aperture Priority mode. More on that in my next post.