LEARN: How To: Digital Camera Tips
In This Guide
1. Introduction
2. Exposure Lock & Flash
3. Action Photos
4. Advanced Exposure
5. Conclusion

Other Resources
Photo Glossary
Exposure Guide
Histogram Guide
Discuss Digital Cameras
More Photo How-To's
Digital Camera Resources

Point-and-Shoot Digital Camera Tips

Part 4: Advanced Exposure Control

Exposure Compensation
Everything I've shared with you so far will work with 99% of the digital cameras available. Most point-and-shoot digital cameras also have exposure compensation control. Exposure compensation allows you to lighten and darken your photos. It�s usually a simple plus or minus scale with plus being brighter and minus indicating a darker photo. Use exposure compensation along with exposure lock to control how light or dark your photos are. Don't be afraid to experiment! It's better to take too many photos than to miss an opportunity because you didn't take that second or third shot.

Exposure compensation and histogram
Exposure Compensation and Histogram
This photo of the LCD display on a Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX2 has both the exposure compensation control and histogram displayed. The histogram is the small graph on the right side, just below the exposure compensation scale.

Manual Exposure and Scene Modes
Your camera may have other exposure options like scene modes, aperture priority, shutter priority, or even full manual exposure control. Those are all very useful. I'm not going to describe them now. We'll save that for another article. But they'll give you even more creative control and I encourage you to read your manual and the Exposure Guide in our Learn Section to gain even more control over your photos.

Histogram Display
One of the most useful tools on a digital camera is called a "histogram." Not all digital cameras have a histogram display. But a surprising number do. The histogram is a graph of the tones in a photo. Some digital cameras have a "live histogram" that can be displayed in the LCD while you're composing a picture. You use the histogram to check if your photo is too bright or too dark. The digital camera LCD isn't an accurate tool for judging how light or dark a photo actually is. But the histogram doesn't lie. Check the histogram after you take a picture and reshoot if you think you can improve the exposure. I always make a test shot, check the histogram, and then tune up my exposure, before I really start taking pictures. For a more information, read our Digital Camera Histogram Guide.

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