Friday, 26 July 2013

Using Auto Exposure Lock with Spot Metering for better exposed portraits

Auto Exposure Lock is something that has been there on our DSLR camera for a long time but many are not aware of it's use or how it can be used properly. Hopefully this article can help you understand it's function better.

Have you ever taken a portrait outdoors only to find that your subject's face looks like they are standing in deep shadow while the surrounding is perfectly exposed? That is because you are probably using the Evaluative metering exposure mode on your camera and it's calculating exposure using the whole scene instead of just a small spot on your frame to get the correct combination of ISO, aperture and shutter speed.

One way to get a perfect exposure on the subject's face is to use Spot metering to read the exposure value off the subject's face and then dial it in using Manual mode while you compose the scene. A better way is to use the AEL (Auto Exposure Lock) button at the back of your camera to lock in the exposure while you focus and recompose your shot. This way you do not have to switch to Manual mode for shooting while still getting the correct exposure that you want everytime.

How do you use it? For me, it's simple.

  1. Set the camera to Spot metering and manual focus on the subject first.
  2. Make sure the subject is at the center of the circle in the viewfinder and then press the "*" button on the back of my camera to lock the exposure.
  3. Recompose and snap the shot.
Try it out and give me some feedback if it helps you out.

** Got a good feedback from Andrew Boey of Nikonian Academy **
The above only applies in full Auto or semi automatic modes like Aperture or Shutter priority modes. It will not work in Manual mode.

And if you want to know more about Andrew, do visit for more information.

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