By July 26, 2013 1 Comments

Check your Exposure Using the Blinkies

In a recent blog post Marlene talked about using the histogram to check exposure, and how to use exposure compensation to correct bad exposure.

In this post you’ll learn another technique to check exposure using the highlight clipping Blinkies. How’s that for a technical term?

First off, make sure you have highlight clipping warnings enabled on your camera. When you playback your photos or video clips, you may have to hit the Display button a few times in order to see them.

Look at a few of your photos. Do you see any blinkies?

If you don’t see them, that means those images don’t have any over-exposed highlights, or that you don’t have them enabled. The video shows you how to enable them. Your camera might have a slightly different menu, so you might have to crack open your camera manual.

Clipping warnings don’t always mean your photo is bad – it just means you’re losing detail.

You can have highlight clipping warnings even if your histogram is not climbing the walls. In the graphic above, the areas to the right of the red line (on the highlight side) show where the loss of highlight detail occurs. Same for the shadows. Left of the red line on the shadow side, shows loss of shadow detail.

What to do if you see blinkies

If you have loss of highlight or shadow detail, you can adjust your exposure in camera, or by changing your lighting, to fix it.

  • In camera corrections: You can do that manually by adjusting your f-stop or shutter speed, or you can use the exposure compensation tool if you are using one of the automatic modes. See my histogram blog post for more info about that.
  • Change the lighting: If your lighting is too contrasty, you may get areas of over and under exposure all at once. You will have to adjust the position and intensity of your lights, add diffusion, or if you’re shooting landscapes, use a graduated ND filter if your sky is blown out.

Make sure you check out the histogram blog post for a review on exposure compensation.

Part 1 The Histogram is your friend: Click here to read the post!

About the Author:

With over 20 years as a pro shooting editorial, sports, corporate and industrial photography, Marlene Hielema has become comfortable with the craft of digital output. As a photo and video tinkerer and troubleshooter, Marlene enjoys relaying the practical uses of photo and video hardware and software that you might not find on the manufacturer's or software publisher's websites. Thousands have seen her work on YouTube and her popular site where Marlene teaches photography and photo editing online, in the classroom, and one-to-one. Find out more about what Marlene can help you with here on discovermirrorless, as well as and

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