Tip: Why You Don’t Always Want Proper Exposure

Sure, you want to properly expose your images, but not always!  I know.  Weird, right?!!

Here’s an example…

Just a few days ago, I was setting up our Christmas tree.  I love seeing my children’s faces when I turn on the holiday lights.  There is something magical about holiday lights, and I wanted to capture that moment I turned them on.

The room with the Christmas tree had boxes of holiday decorations and bins in the background.  Ideally, I wouldn’t want to have clutter in the shot, but this wasn’t a photoshoot, but rather, a capture of a moment in time.

Since there wasn’t any time to pretty it up, what can I do?

Here is the image when properly exposed:

You get this if you have your camera set on Auto, Program or Aperture/Shutter Priority mode.  Your DSLR will make sure your image is properly exposed.  With that, you see all the details — in this case, clutter — in the room.

Here is the same exact scene when I purposely UNDEREXPOSED the image:

I shot this in the Manual setting, so I had full control of the output.  I knew exactly how I wanted my image to look:  I wanted the focus to be on the lights and my monkeys’ faces…  I wanted a scene that depicted the magic of Christmas.

Here were the settings to both images:

By NOT having perfect exposure, I was able to create the look and feel I wanted.

Happy holidays to you and yours,


#BayAreachildrenphotography #EastBaychildrenphotography #EastBaylifestylephotography #Photographytips

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