Using EV Compensation for Perfectly Exposed Nature & Wildlife Photos (VIDEO)

Obtaining properly exposed photos can be difficult when shooting outdoors under ever changing light. This is particularly true when photographing birds and other forms of wildlife that often move quickly from sun to shade.

In the video below you’ll see how one accomplished outdoor photographer nails exposure every time by overruling his camera’s light meter with quick exposure-compensation settings to get just the look he’s after.

Based in North Carolina, Sean Leahy has been photographing birds his entire life and the advice he provides will help you capture much better images of our feathered friends. Moreover, the tips in the video will also prove very helpful for photographing other animals in the field under difficult light.

As Leahy says, “In about half of the cases, 0-EV compensation works perfectly fine." It’s dealing with the other 50% that this episode is all about. He explains when you can trust your camera’s meter, and what conditions require plus or minus EV compensation, Leahy also suggests the best settings to use based upon the situation at hand.

Most experienced photographers assign EV compensation to a custom function button on their camera if a dedicated button doesn’t exist. Once you know how this simple technique works, it’s almost impossible to get things wrong. In this behind-the scenes episode, Leahy demonstrates everything you need to know in less than five minutes.

Leahy explains that backlit animals and those photographed against a bright sky require bumping up exposure to avoid dark subjects that appear as silhouettes. And these adjustments aren’t always intuitive. Conversely, other situations may require a stop or two of –EV compensation to avoid overexposing your main subject.

Once you get the hang of this, and it doesn’t take long, you’ll no longer have to worry about proper exposures. You’ll therefore be able to concentrate on composition, focus, and other important matters.

There’s much more to see on Leahy’s YouTube channel and in another tutorial we posted recently, explaining 12 things to check if your photos aren’t sharp.