White Stuff - Shooting tips & tricks for lots of white (or black)

Hi Guys!

Does any know any tips and tricks for taking pictures with lots of white (or black) in the frame? Here are a couple of tips that I use:

1. Metering off blue skies - this invloves point the camera up towards the sky to set my exposure and then (with manual exposure set) point my lens back at my subject for focus and shooting. Note that this requires shooting in manual mode, for best results...

2. Another trick is "exposure +2" adjustment - this involves intentionally over-exposuring my sensor by +2 stops, whilst point my lens at a predominantly white frame (like snow or an overcast sky). Note that this also requires shooting in manual mode, for best results...

3. Metering off exposed green - this involves pointing the camera up towards a predominantly green scene (like a field), setting my exposure and then (with manual exposure set) pointing my lens back at my subject for focusing and shooting. I usually have my camera on manual for this, and would suggest you do same...

4. I know that a grey card is also a good solution for this but I have to admit that I do not use this very often...

I hope you find these helpful. I would appreciate any feedback you might have.

Also, does anyone else have any other tips that work as well as these or perhaps even better? Please do share... It is so much more fun to share!

Many thanks!


Photo credits: Edosaodaro.

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Thanks Bradcalkins! Your mirrorless camera sounds amazing! Perhaps more of us should take this new technology seriously...


A spot meter is useful in these types of situations. You can then do a spot meter reading and use auto-exposure lock (many cameras have an AE-L button) to lock in that reading and then recompose or switch to manual. AE-L is also useful to do what you state above and tilt the camera to view a neutral area or the area you want to set exposure for and then lock the reading and recompose...

I use a mirrorless camera so I have access to a live histogram and over/under exposure warnings which helps exposure correctly. The Olympus E-M1 is cool in that the histogram has the overall scene, plus an overlay for exposure in the selected AF point. Sort of like have both spot meter AND average reading at the same time!


Ha ha... Thanks Alvera!
HDR is something I haven't tried out yet...
Perhaps I should!
Any tips would be appreciated...


First of all you must chose what want to be correct exposed, the sky or the subject. If you want the subject and not to be fooled by camera, you must set the metering mode on spot, measure the exposure on subject and then frame and take the shot. This way the sky or snow will be overexposed. If you want to shot a black cat on a white field you must go for HDR :-)

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