Example of Over Exposure and Under Exposure

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Here’s an image that illustrates what Under Exposed images, correctly Exposed images and Over Exposed images look like.

Over and under exposed images

About Author

A keen amateur photographer, Garry has been teaching people photography for over 5 years but is also always learning. Garry enjoys many types of photography but prefers Street Photography and Candid Event Photography

32 Comments

  1. Hi,
    Most of the photos I have taken resonantly have been over exposed even set on auto setting.

    What should I do?

    I have a Nikon 40DX

    Thanks

  2. If most of your images are coming out over exposed then there could be a number of reasons why this is happening.
    Are they landscape shots with lots of sky in, or are they more varied pictures with all sorts of lighting conditions in them?
    Have you tried any other setting, other than auto? Do they still come out too light?
    The thing to do is to take some test shots under the same conditions, first of all use the auto mode and then try either aperture priority or shutter priority to give you more control. Take the same shot at various shutter speeds or apertures and see if your images are still over exposed.
    If you have one of the pictures I can see, either on a web site or just email it to me (as long as the file size isn’t too large) – garry@photography-basics.com then maybe I can get a better idea as to why they might be over exposed.

  3. What’s the best solution in taking pictures of both light and dark people?

    Many of my shots, tends to show dark people too dark. Is there anything that I can do to correct this?

    I have a Nikon D80 with a SB800 flash.

  4. taking pictures which have both dark and light subjects in the same shot is always going to be difficult whatever type of picture it is. Here a few ideas which might help.
    If the dark areas are always too dark then you can try using the exposure compensation and increase it by a stop or two. This is usually done with a +/- button which lets you increment the exposure settings in small amounts. So a slight over exposure will help with the dark areas.
    Try and expose for a mid tone, by this I mean when you point the camera, aim it at a mid tone, so not a shadow or highlight and press the shutter half way down, then move the camera to compose the full shot (while making sure everything is still in focus). This makes the camera set any exposure values for the mid tone and should give you a more even exposure.
    Shoot in RAW format as this gives you the most latitude for adjustments in the computer afterwards. So you can reduce shadows and highlights in photoshop (or similar software) giving you detail in both the shadow areas and highlight areas.

  5. Thanks Gary for all the info. I guess I will have to practice these shots until I can get it right.

  6. Alot of photos i have taken are all under expose i’ve tried changing the aperture but that dosn’t seem to work. Please help i have an
    Nikon COOLPIX p5000

  7. Hi Jess, do you have any links to any of the pictures. It’s very hard to suggest what the problem could be without seeing a few examples.

  8. Hi Garry,

    I am also having prob with my Olympus FE 200 cam. I always get over exposed picutres shot under sunlight. The problem is, my camera is fully automatic so I have little control over apperture and other things. What can I do?

  9. hi,

    im kindly a newbie in photography
    and i really like to know more about
    shutter speed and how to use it
    in daylight ^^

    im using Cybershot w300
    I’ll wait for your reply ^_^

  10. Hi, I do have information about shutter speed and how it can be used for different conditions. If you have bright conditions then you can use a wide range of shutter speeds for different effects, but as the light level drops then the shutter speed becomes more of an issue if you want sharp pictures.

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  12. I decided to pull out my film camera Nikon F80 for a recent beach engagement party. Most of my shots of the couple on the beach came dull , grainy and too dark. The lighting seemed fine it was overcast late afternoon. I used a 400 speed film and camera was on auto. How can I get those beautiful crisp shots I saw thru my lense? Is it that I need a flash or different speed film or both?

  13. Hi Vanessa. This is a tricky one as there could be a whole host of factors that would make a picture look a bit dull. As your camera is on auto, it’s making the decisions for you, and I expect it was compromising too much on exposing the entire image correctly. Were there bright areas and dark areas of the scene? If so then the camera might have struggled to get the bright bits right and the dark bits right. It’s not the cameras fault though in that case, it’s just trying to do what it thinks is right. Moving into aperture priority and maybe changing the exposure setting on your camera to help you get the important area of the shot right could help. But as I said, there are a lot of things it could be.

  14. hey my outdoor pics come out white. while the indoors pics are fine. i’m using a samsung s730. can you help me solve this problem

  15. Are they totally white or just washed out? Sounds like your exposure settings are wrong. What mode do you have your camera in?

  16. I use a Yashica AL730, after I click my picture; the result is full white picture and nothing visible. the piture has motion trail too..
    kindly help

  17. It sounds like the shutter speed is too slow so too much light is getting in making your picture all white or allowing light trails to show on the photo. Check what setting you are using or try the full auto mode to see if it does the same thing. It could be a problem with the camera like a sticky shutter, but just check the basic settings first.

  18. hi! im new in taking pictures using my nikon d3000,can you pls help me, im using yn467 speedlite now on how to take photo or technic on how it works?

  19. so clear ex. even a beginner like me could understand the role of shutter speed so long photography is concerned…

  20. HI Garry, I have Nikon D3100. can u tell me what is the perfect tuning between A,S & ISO in sunny day and also in low light…

  21. Hi Garry,

    How are you? I have Nikon Coolpix L120. Although i am novice to camera but have passion of photography. the question is how can i control the aperture, shutter speed and focus manually by myself in my camera?

    wishing you thanks.

  22. Hi, after a bit of digging on the web, unfortunately it doesn’t look like you can control the aperture and shutter speed manually on that camera.

  23. Hi Garry,

    Had some pics taken by a professional photograper in a studio of my little girl. When I put them in Lightroom the historgram shows them as well over exposed is that to be expected?

  24. Hello, I am a newbie. I have a Nikon D5100 and I keep having the same problems with exposure. The first is underexposed faces. For instance, taking a pic of people in the morning with a lake and sky in the background, the subjects will have underexposed faces. The background will look great. I have tried auto, portrait and then the manual, aperture, etc. settings and can’t seem to find what works best. I am able to correct the photo in photoshop but I would like to know what I’m doing wrong and hope to get it right the first time :)

    Second problem, taking pics in shady areas. For instance subjects under a tree with green vegetation around. I have tried switching the camera to manual and turning the dial to where the exposure compensation indicator display shows in the middle. The lighting will turn out better but all the green parts of the picture will have a yellow cast.

    Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!!

  25. Do they have a white background? You generally have to over expose a little to get a nice white background otherwise it can come out slightly grey.

  26. Hi, the first issue is down to the camera trying to get the best exposure for the overall image. The background is probably taking up a larger area then the people and the camera is basing it’s exposure settings off that. To fix it you can use exposure lock on the faces then recompose the shot. However, this will make the background a lot lighter so the best method is to use some flash to add light onto the faces while keeping the background in a more natural light. This takes a bit of practise though. Second problem is much the same but it sounds like the yellow cast is coming from the white balance settings. Do you have it on auto or set for a particular lighting condition. Sounds like the green leaves are throwing the white balance off.

  27. Thanks so much for your help. The white balance was set to shade. What you recommend for the white balance setting?

  28. Garry,

    Thanks for reply, if I send you a pic would you give your opinion? As the colour seems washed out.

    Thanks
    Jim

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