Here is a quick tip I wanted to share that will help you make better photos from the first time you use it. I call it the “magic button” (aka Exposure Compensation) and it’s on every camera that I know of now from the camera app on your phone all the way to your DSLRs. You’ve probably seen it but may not have known what is was for.


This is what the icon for the magic button looks like. It might be a button you press and hold, or it might be on the side of a control wheel on the back of your camera you press and then rotate, there might be a special dial you use, or a place you tap on the screen of your phone but this is the universal symbol for Exposure Compensation. If you can’t find it easily then you will need to look up Exposure Compensation in your owner’s manual. Sorry, searching your owner’s manual for “Magic Button” will be a frustrating and fruitless exercise.

Anyway, Exposure Compensation will help you in just about every situation where you want to make photos. So, how does it work? The icon above gives you a little hint. If your photo is too dark you can brighten it up by adding positive (+) exposure compensation and if it’s too bright you can darken it by using negative (-) exposure compensation. Think about it this way, positive (+) adds light, negative (-) takes light away.

So how much exposure compensation should you use? Well, there is no set rule (and I love not having rules!) so adjust until the photo looks better. With camera apps and point and shoot cameras you will see the screen get darker or lighter depending which way you adjust the exposure compensation. On DSLRs you will need to guess and then check after you make a photo or use Live View to see the effect on the DSLR’s screen. One thing to remember when using exposure compensation on your point and shoot cameras and your DSLRs, when you set it, it stays the way you set it until you change it. So, if you don’t want all of the rest of your photos to be too bright or too dark, make sure you set the exposure compensation back to 0.

Until next time… Create Every Day!