Eclass 6

“ For me the camera is a sketch book, an instrument of intuition and spontaneity.” Henri Cartier-Bresson.

You are now well on the way to using your camera as a creative tool and will find this quite easy and fun. The wonderful world of photography is opening for you. It’s just a matter of knowing where the controls are on your camera and the results they are capable of.

Your Camera Settings, Where Are The Controls And What Do They Do?

How will this help you?

Knowing your camera and its settings stops photo opportunities disappearing while you search for the right setting because you now have your camera already set up before you start taking photos. You also have more of an idea of the results you will get before you press the shutter. When you see in your mind’s eye the result you want it is easier to produce it. Visualizing is a powerful tool.

In this Lesson you will ;

  • Explore more options available to you in your camera’s menu
  • Identify and use the metering modes available on your camera. Different camera manufacturers have slightly different names for these but the main ways the cameras gather information about light are;
    • from many points (matrix metering),
    • from an area in the middle of the view finder (center weighted metering),
    • from a small area identified in the view finder (spot metering)
  • and close up or macro mode.
  • Explore your instruction book for your camera to discover if you have an exposure compensation feature in you camera. These are becoming increasingly available in most modern cameras including compact cameras and smart phones.
  • Learn how to read the histogram to show how your camera sees the scene in front of you.


Before you do this lesson make sure you have printed and put into your Photography Journal the photos from Eclass 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5. You are building a wonderful resource for yourself. You will be able to glance back and revise your lessons just by looking at your own photos.

Equipment needed

  1. A Smart Phone Camera OR a Compact Camera OR an SLR camera with a medium telephoto lens.
  2. Your camera’s instruction book
  3. A vase of flowers OR a dried arrangement OR a still life arrangement using articles you have in the kitchen like cups and saucers, mugs, jugs, a teapot or any other item with an interesting shape or color.

Part 1 Metering Modes


In today’s world of photography we have been given the chance to change our camera settings to make the best of every photo opportunity. Of course you can set your camera on the automatic settings but these do not always give the best result.

Metering Modes

Modern Cameras have different ways of gathering information about the available light and where exactly you want to take the light measurement.

To Do

1. Remember your learning from Eclass 1 and make sure you have turned on the grid and use it in all the following photos, Eclass 2 check your settings for resolution and camera modes, Eclass 3 check your aperture settings, Eclass 4 check your shutter speed settings, Eclass 5 check your ISO and White Balance settings.

2. Move a small table outside into a shaded area or inside close to a window so that there is even light without high contrast.

3. Stand a chair on a table and drape a tablecloth or a piece of material over the chair to provide a background then arrange your items to form your subject.

4. Check your camera settings then,

  • Stand in the same position for every photo.
  • Take several photos using the different areas to measure the light,
  • many points,
  • in the center,
  • in a selected spot, first for the light area in your photo, then for a dark area in your photo.
  • in a macro setting

5. Inspect your photos to see the differences and make a note of it.


Exposure Value Compensation (EV override)

This is represented in some cameras as a dial with a   +/- symbol. Some of the more modern smart phones have a slider to alter the exposure value. Using this control is a quick way to alter the amount of light reaching the sensor of the camera. This can be set up in thirds or halves of a stop.

Set the camera up for thirds of a stop if you have the option.

The set up has a negative element as well as a positive element and you can dial in more or less light, minus being less and plus being more.

To do.

6. Check your instruction book to see if you have Exposure Value Compensation available.

7. Explore your camera’s menu to find Exposure Value Compensation

8. Using the subject you have set up take a photo without altering the exposure compensation.

9. Using the same subject and same basic settings alter the exposure compensation to -1.

10. Using the same subject and the same basic settings alter the exposure compensation to -2.

11. Using the same subject  and the same basic settings alter the exposure compensation to +1.

12. Using the same subject and the same basic settings alter the exposure compensation to +2.
Investigate and compare your photos.



Not all cameras have this feature.

The histogram feature is a graph that can be seen on some cameras and most photo management programs. It is a map of the light and dark areas in the photo. It is in the shape of a curve and the best results are given when the curve is evenly balanced and weighted towards the middle of the graph

The left hand side represents the dark tones in the photo, the middle represents the mid tones and the right hand side represents the light tones.

The sliders underneath these three areas can be used to alter the tonal balance of the photo.

At this stage use the histogram for information gathering and use other controls like ISO, aperture, shutter speed and exposure compensation to control your photo.

Advanced Strategies

Take your camera for a walk (or drive) to your favorite place to photograph and try out your new photographic knowledge.

Photo speak

Focus point metering

  • Many point metering –sometimes called matrix metering.
  • Center metering –sometimes called center weighted metering.
  • Spot metering –using a focus point selected in camera.
  • Macro – for small subjects that are close to the camera.

Histogram – a graph that shows the balance of tones, from light to dark, in your photo.

Exposure Value Compensation ( EV Overide) – This is a control where you can change the camera’s recommended setting for the amount of light reaching the camera’s sensor. It is set out in increments and can be changed +/- in small steps.

Congratulations on finishing Lesson 6!!! You are powering on.!!
You can use the skills you have gained in controlling your camera in many different ways, for family portraits, for pet portraits, for landscapes, for sunrises and sunsets and for macro work. The possibilities show wonderful opportunities and this is just the beginning. Enjoy!

Remember to paste the photographic examples of your work into your journal so that you have a record of how far you have come. This is just the beginning of the journey. Each lesson you finish will take you closer to where you want to be. Enjoy your progress. You deserve the results.

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