When I got my Canon EOS 600D as a backup camera, I got a lot of underexposed shots simply because the LCD screen was extremely bright.
Since then I’ve learned to always keep an eye on the histogram and not worry about the screen showing a very bright image. This alone has helped me a lot with my exposures.
DON’T TRUST YOUR LCD SCREEN
Under no circumstances should you ever trust the LCD screen on your camera. While it does give you a representation of your image, the camera’s display screen is exceedingly bright. Therefore, the image you just took will appear brighter than it actually is. To avoid this complication, you should use your camera’s histogram to visualize your image and determine if your shutter speed calculations are correct. Plus if you’re shooting in RAW format, the LCD visual of your image will be a compact version of the photo, and as a result, will not be an accurate representation.
PAY ATTENTION TO YOUR HISTOGRAM
Histograms are a graphical representation that show the distribution of dark (left side of histogram), light (right side of histogram) and midtones (middle of histogram) within your image. The histogram is one of the most useful tools you can use for determining proper exposure levels. If any portion of the histogram is touching either side of the histogram (known as clipping), this indicates a loss of detail. For example, if there are any completely white sections within the image, the graph will be touching the right side of the histogram, while completely dark areas will touch the left side—both of which can be fixed by adjusting your exposure settings.
USE EXPOSURE BRACKETING
Sometimes you may experience tricky lighting situations where you are unable to determine the exact exposure speeds to use (e.g. when you have a start contrast between your light and shadows). This technique uses a series of photos captured either manually by the photographer or automatically by the camera. Each photograph is set at either one stop above or below the camera meter’s reading for the ‘correct’ exposure to ensure the best exposure level for the photograph.
PHOTOGRAPH USING RAW FORMAT
Depending on your camera’s specifications, photos are typically captured in one of two formats: JPEG or RAW. RAW files contain all the information possible within your images, and can generate higher quality images. JPEG files on the other hand are compressed. Therefore, these images lose some of the information you would capture using a RAW file format. Unfortunately, once this information is lost, you can’t get it back.
PREPARE AND RESEARCH BEFORE YOUR SHOOT
As any professional photographer knows, just because you found a promising spot to photograph, doesn’t mean your session will be as simple as point and shoot. To ensure you have the best possible location for your setup, you should always plan ahead and research your destination. Check out the site ahead of time, and look around to see where you can capture the best angles and lighting for your photography. Also keep the weather in mind. Check ahead to find out what the weather will be like on the day of your shoot, and if needed, reschedule it to fit the specific needs of your images.