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Taking Better Photos Day 8 - Metering & Bringing it all Together

11 July 2011

I hope everybody had a FANTASTIC weekend!  It was busy, but great for us.  I had a newborn shoot and engagement shoot over the weekend that I'll post about soon.  Today, we're going to talk more about our cameras.  So, I've told you about Shutter Speed, Aperture and ISO, but how the heck do you make it all work together to have complete control over your camera?  It's surprisingly easy once you understand how each of those 3 things work, and our cameras help.  Here's the breakdown:

1.  Switch your camera into manual mode
2.  Choose your ISO based on how bright or dim your location is.
3.  Choose your Aperture.  Do you want a really blurry background?  Go for a low number.  Do you want everything in focus?  Go for a high number.
4.  Here comes the "work".  Your camera has something called an exposure meter.  It looks something like this:

image courtesy of
This meter is what's going to tell you what shutter speed to use based on the ISO and aperture that you chose.  If your LCD is displaying your settings, your light meter will show there.  On my camera, I look through my viewfinder and hold my shutter release button down 1/2 way.  This will bring up my exposure meter.  Your meter will show if your picture is going to be too dark (underexposed), or too light (overexposed) by either being on the - side or the + side.  If your meter is on the - side, dial your shutter speed down to a slower speed until your meter is 0.  If your meter is on the + side, dial your shutter speed up until your meter is 0.

That's it.  It might seem confusing at first, but once you find your light meter and start adjusting your shutter speed, you'll get it before you know it.  Guess what?  You now know the basics of shooting in manual. 

Tomorrow is all about Photoshop and post processing programs to help enhance your photos.

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