"Good exposure" what does that mean?

Thread starter #1


Senior Member
Thought I would share my definition of "good exposure" real quick since a question came up.

Good exposure" basically means that the whites aren't "blown" and there is detail in the shadows. If the there is too much black/shadows (where there SHOULD be detail), then the image is underexposed. If there is white with no details (especially large areas of it), then the whites are "blown" and the image is overexposed.

It is hard (and in the middle of the day often impossible) to get a single image where the whites & darks are both "properly" exposed because a digital sensor only senses about 5 to 7 "stops" of light. And there are times when you intentionally want more black or blown highlights as well...

A "good exposure" means that the balance between ISO, shutter speed, & aperature (f-stop) was appropriate to let the whites & blacks both be visible. Note that you can change one of those factors (which will cause changes in at least one of the others and have an equivalent exposure).

Here is an example of equivalent exposure: Say I shoot an image with a "good exposure" at f/4.0, 1/1000th second, ISO 200; I could also (assuming a good rest, stationary subject, etc.) have shot that same image at f/22, 1/30th second, ISO 200 and would have gotten an image with similar colors, but a LOT more depth of field.

Hope y'all are all having a good one!


Senior Member
Boy Howdy, now that there is a great topic. I wonder who was wondering what "good exposure" meant. Must of been some Photography Greenhorn.:bounce:


Shutter Mushin' Mod
rip, do you ever shoot with the "blinky" histogram to tell you you have over exposed? it is tough looking at the little lcd screen and trying to tell if i have blown it !!! the blinky helps me a little bit when it is real bright out.

the steeple pic i took the other day i dialed down the ev on purpose because i wanted the rays of the sun seen first and foremost. i don't know if it was the "right" thing to do, but it made a neater looking image to me. sometimes it just takes experimentation, but a lot of our subjects don't give us time to experiment !!!
Thread starter #5


Senior Member
Yep, I look at both the blinkies on the back of the camera & the histogram to insure that I have a "good" exposure.

If the blinkies are blinking, then I have burned some whites. The histogram will also have a spike on the far right.

If I have a spike on the far left, then I will have a lot of blacks.

I try to keep my histogram over towards the right without quite touching the right side. Can then optimize the exposure as I convert from RAW to retain the most color possible.

Note that I said "try" - too often I forget to check my settings at the light changes or I move to a new location, and I will have a slough of "almost" shots that I have either over- or under-exposed.


Retired Woody's Mod 7/01-12/09
Good explanation rip

thanks for posting it:biggrin3:


Senior Member
Nice definition, Rip....I am attempting to learn more about relying on the histogram to help me out in the field....