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Flash Exposure Compensation Tips

what is flash exposure compensation

By Kyle Schurman. Cameras Expert

Kyle Schurman is a freelance writer who has been writing about digital cameras, and the technologies behind them, since digital cameras began appearing on the consumer market. He still has his first digital camera, a 0.5-megapixel model. Read more

Flash exposure compensation is the ability to change the output level, or power level, of the flash unit on the DSLR camera without changing the exposure of the background of the photo.

By adjusting the flash output level, it should only affect the subject’s brightness as related to the background … as long as the power level of the flash is adjusted properly.

Many professional photographers will tell you that the worst flash results you can end up with occur when shooting with the external flash attached to the camera, because you often end up with a washed out image with too much light.

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That’s where flash compensation can help, as it can allow you to adjust the power of the flash unit to make the light from the flash complement the external light, rather than overpowering it. Continue reading for some tips for controlling your DSLR’s flash exposure compensation.

  • Each 1/3 increment is called a “stop.” So if someone suggests you dial down the flash a stop or two, they’re referring to -1/3 or -2/3 on the flash exposure compensation dial.
  • When photographers use exposure bracket compensation, they shoot several photos, adjusting the exposure by a stop each time. You can do the same thing with flash exposure compensation. For example, you can shoot at +1 flash exposure compensation, then adjust to +2/3, +1/3, 0, -1/3, -2/3, and -1. This type of bracketing when shooting the exact same scene will give you a better chance of achieving the correct flash exposure compensation.

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