Our Photography Courses Blog
Underexposure on photography course at Charlecote, Warwickshire
One of the problems when photographing flowers is that they are very reflective – it’s almost as if they were designed to reflect light or something!
WIth a dark background, sometimes your camera tends to brighten the image a little resulting in the pale flower being “blown”, or overexposed. We really need to tone the whole image down a bit to ensure that the flower can all be seen, after all the dark background is just background.
There are two ways to do this:
Firstly, you could set the metering to “center weighted” (sorry about the American spelling) – this kind of metering takes most of it’s reading from where you focused (not the middle if you half-pressed and moved) – 75% or so from a 25% area around the focus point. This means that the subject is more important than the background, which in this case it is.
Secondly, you could just use your +/- button to underexpose the whole thing, assuming you are in the clever P A S or P Av Tv modes. This will allow you to make the pic a bit too dark, which is fine.
Or you could do both – we usually use center-weighted and underexpose by .3 or .7 stops – we often photograph pale British people in underlit British rooms which can have the same blowing-out-the-pale subject effect. Under exposure is always better than over exposure (within reason) – as you can’t do anything with blown-out areas, there is literally no data there to work with.
Don’t forget, if you do this you’ll need to change it back afterwards!