photography101: EXPOSURE: tips, tricks and techniques

photography101blog This week's topic is near and dear to my heart, as I feel that what makes or breaks a photographer is the perfect exposure.  I've said before that no amount of photoshop can bring you back from a poor exposure…and I truly believe that.  Yes, of course, there are actions and presets that can "save" a poorly exposed image, adding a curves layer can adjust every highlight and shadow imaginable…but spending an hour editing an image when you could have just nailed the exposure in camera in the first place seems a bit silly.Many (if not all) DSLR camera's have a light meter built in.  It should look something like this (but probably won't be pink, which is decidedly a serious flaw!):in-camera light meter  The "0" represents a technically perfect exposure.  To the left, the negative numbers would be considered underexposed; to the right the positive numbers would be considered overexposed.  As you adjust your settings (aperture, ISO or shutter speed), you are adjusting your exposure, and as you do, the little arrow will move away from the "0" in either direction.That all being said, exposure can also be preferential and used as a form of artistic expression just as much as it is a technical tool.In my portraiture, I typically overexpose my images by a "stop" to a stop and a half.  For example, when I photographed this newborn, my in-camera meter looked something like this:newborn in-camera light meter The slight overexposure in my images not only improves the look and texture of the skin, but it also adds a light and airy feel to them, which has become part of my personal aesthetic.Here is an example of an image which I underexposed to create more of a serious, moody look, and what the in-camera meter looked like:ringsin-camera light meterI absolutely encourage everyone to try adjusting their own exposures to find a look that you like and that you feel makes your images unique!  But there is definitely a delicate balance - go too far over or under in exposure and the aesthetic is lost entirely as it becomes just a poor exposure.Last week I hinted that I would be giving a few more details on the giveaways…and that the giving would be starting this week!  So here's how you enter:1. LIKE Joanna Fisher Photography on Facebook.2. SHARE this post and invite your friends to join in the fun!3.  submit a topic - ANY topic - you'd like covered during the photography101 series AND let me know in the comments that you've entered!Next week we'll  be giving away the Photojojo Project Book - full of awesome DIY projects, camera hacks and ideas to get you excited to bust out your camera!  Good luck!!Photojojo Book

(image from