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Sunday, July 13, 2008

The Art of "Auto" Photography Part 2: Understanding "Auto" Mode

Photo 1

Photo 2

Which one of the two photos above do you think is a picture of a white paper and which one is of a black paper. This is one experiment I'd like you to try for yourself and see what results you get. Just set your camera in "Auto" mode with sufficient light (to prevent your flash from firing) and take a picture each of a perfectly white surface and then another picture of a perfectly black surface.

So why did both pictures turned gray? That's because your camera's micro-chip artificial intelligence interprets the white surface as "too bright" and the black surface as "too dark" so it made the necessary adjustments to make the exposures "correct" according to what it
understands is correct.

So how is this information - and the experiment - useful to the "Auto Photographer"? Well, every piece of gadget has its strengths and weaknesses and by understanding them, you will know when to exploit them.

In this case then, 'Auto' mode will work 99% if the scene is fairly evenly lit, the background and subjects are wearing a variety of colors or shades. For example, outdoor parties or just your girlfriend or boyfriend in the garden wearing colored clothes. If you are shooting weddings where everyone is wearing white or at a formal dinner, where everyone is wearing tux and dark colored evening gowns, it's better to change your camera setting from 'Auto' to one of the scene modes.

Oh yes, the answer to the question - photo 1 is the black paper and photo 2 is the white paper.

Cheers,

alexdpx

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