Auto Exposure VS Manual Exposure


What is exposure?

When planning a shooting, one needs to make sure that the picture is not too bright or dark. Exposure adjusts the amount of light in the image. It defines the amount of light that will be captured by the camera. As a director and photographer, proper exposure is the key to create the desired mood.


Most digital cameras will offer a built-in tool to control the exposure, among other digital features, and they work the same way as our eye works – Our pupil (the black dot in your eye) is controlled by the iris, that adjust the amount of light that will go into the eye. When facing a bright light, the iris will constrain te pupil, and in a dark room, the iris will enlarge our pupil.

The exposure tool on the camera will affect all of the image. We cannot make only the table lighter in the image or to only make a wall darker. The only way to make an object in an image lighter or darker is in the color correction stage of post-production. Play with exposure in your camera before you start shooting with it. When you play with the exposure tool, you will also notice the different effects you can create with it. for example, you will see that the more exposure you’ll allow in the image, the more focused it will be, and when you reduce the amount of light in an image, you’ll be able to create a selective focus, which will help you in creating a depth of field ( having something in the foreground of your picture in focus and everything beyond that out of focus)

How to adjust camera exposure?

To adjust your camera exposure, you need to take these steps:

  1. Turn your camera into manual mode.
  2. Play with all the controls you got. Usually, they will be Aperture, Shutter speed and ISO. Start with the Aperture if you are interested in creating a depth of field and the Shutter speed to have a more focused image.
  3. After the first adjustment, please take a look in your monitor, and see how it looks. 
  4. You might want to zoom in to see the details
  5. Keep adjusting until you are satisfied with the picture.


What is auto exposure (ae)?

The AE button is an option that creates a shooting mode in your camera that allows it to choose by itself the amount of light needed. When shooting in auto exposure, the cameraman can shoot without worrying about adjusting the light. The auto-exposure work pretty well in most cases, but You should not use it in a location that is too bright or too dark. Using auto-exposure in not so bright location can cause a grainy image 

A few of the cameras today have a feature that will paints zebra lines in the viewfinder or LCD on the overexposed parts of the image (the hot spots).

When shooting your first film exercise, you will want to use the auto-exposure a lot, but that is a habit, you’ll need to lose as you move along. Most cameras auto-exposure feature will create the world 18 per cent grey. In many images, you will see that it turned a solid white wall to a grey one.

To get the best auto-exposure setting, you need first to test it in a different location (with different amounts of lights) and see how it handles the 

What is the AEL button on the camera?

The AEL mean AE lock and it’s a function that allows you to reframe the scene while keeping the exposure the same. In most cameras, there will be two options: Hold – which means you need to hold it while shooting and Toggle, you simply need to push the AEL button.


What’s important to remember is that everyone works differently. With time, you’ll learn when to use the AE button and when to go manual. The truth is that Whether a manual mode is useful or not is dependent mostly on the photographer.