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Tutorial for Better Photos 
by Don O. Thorpe


Getting the proper exposure for a photograph can be haphazard even with automatic cameras. But the culprit is not the camera, but the ratio of light and dark areas of the subject. For instance, a person standing in front of a very light background (white wall, sky, snow, etc) will usually appear very dark in the photograph. While the same person standing in front of a very dark background (black wall, dark trees, etc) will appear very light in the photograph. This is the result of the light meter in the camera averaging the total scene as a medium gray. 

(1) Get closer to the subject so that the ratio of dark to light is half and half, not predominantly dark or light. 
(2) point the camera at an medium gray subject, and keep that exposure reading by pressing the shutter release part way and holding it -- this will work with most automatic exposure cameras, but not, unfortunately, with smart-phones.

NOTE: It is not necessary to have bright sunlight for properly exposed photographs. In fact, overcast, cloudy days can provide wonderful lighting, as does close-up portraits in the shade. You should also experiment with early morning and late afternoon sunlight.

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