Digital Photography Quick Tips

Difficult subjects to photograph

Written by Digicamhelp Editor

Learn how to adjust digital camera settings when photographing these difficult subjects.

In the spotlightCompact digital cameras do a good job at automatically exposing photos in light where the subject is evenly lit. However there are times when you must override the camera’s setting to get a decent exposure, particularly when photographing the subjects listed below.

Difficult subjects to photograph

  • Scenes with high contrast that contain both dark shadows or bright highlights.
  • Very bright scenes such as at the beach.
  • Snowscapes.
  • Very dark scenes such as a forest.
  • When a subject is in front of a dark background.
  • When a subject is in front of a light background.
  • When the main source of light comes from behind the subject.
  • “Spot lighted” subjects, where the main area is bright and most of the scene is dark (eg photographing the moon; actor on a stage). Use spot or center weighted metering.

To get the best photos in difficult lighting, take plenty of shots, bracket and/or use the appropriate metering mode such as spot metering. For backlit subjects that are close-up, use fill-in flash or reflector. Another effective method to use instead of bracketing is Exposure Compensation.

When it is difficult to focus, plan ahead and pre-focus by depressing the shutter-release button halfway then recompose. Use Manual Focus or Auto Focus/Auto Exposure Lock (AF/AF Lock) if your camera has either of these features.

Many digital cameras have intelligent auto and scene modes with pre-set factory optimized settings for various scenes.