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Understanding Your Camera's Light Meter

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When to Overexpose and Underexpose Your Images
Understanding Your Camera's Light Meter

A light meter showing one stop overexposure

© 2007 Liz Masoner licensed to About.com, Inc.
Even though most of the time you will want to keep your meter reading in the center, there are times you will need to deliberately overexpose or underexpose your images slightly. Sometimes this is for artistic effect but usually it is because you are shooting in conditions that can confused the meter.

Examples of times to overexpose

  • Subject is very dark in comparison to background
  • Snow
  • On a bright day if your subject is in shadow

Examples of times to underexpose

  • Subject is very light in comparison to background
  • To achieve a silhouette effect
  • On a overcast day to increase color saturation

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