How to Shoot Perfectly Exposed Nature & Wildlife Photos Every Time (VIDEO)

Nailing exposure is a critical aspect of all genres of photography as you refine your skills, and this can be difficult when shooting outdoors under varied illumination. This is a particularly challenging task when the light is everchanging as clouds pass through a scene, or when subjects in motion move in and out of sunlight and shadow.

Getting the light right without guesswork should become almost second nature so that you can concentrate on composition, selective focus, and other creative aspects of capturing images that grab attention—whether you're shooting at night or during the day under bright, harsh conditions. If you often struggle with blown-out highlights, crushed shadows, or both, the quick tutorial below is just what you need.

Instructor Simon d'Entremont is an acclaimed pro based in Nova Scotia, specializing in wildlife, nature, and astrophotography. His goal for today's episode is to help you master exposure so that your images convey just the right mix of brightness values very time. By following his straightforward advice and doing a bit of practice, this goal will quickly become as automatic as tying your shoes.

Be sure to watch until the end of lesson when Simon demonstrates a "bonus tip" known as "Expose to the Right" (ETTR) that enables you to achieve perfect exposure and optimum image quality at the same time. The lesson begins with a quick overview of how a camera's exposure system works, explaining that by understanding these fundamentals you'll be able to use Simon's tips to get the perfect amount of light on the sensor without overthinking the process.

There are two settings key settings for handling the basics; namely shutter speed and aperture—both of which control the number of photons hitting the sensor. With this knowledge under your belt, the "secrets" that follow will make total sense. As he says, "you want to get as much light into your camera because doing so will greatly improve image quality."

If you're wondering about ISO, this parameter doesn't actually change the amount of light entering a camera. Simon suggests that you think of this setting as a "volume knob" that affects brightness in other ways.

So what's the big trick? It's nothing more complicated than understanding the histogram on a camera's rear LCD. This of-ignored option is a graphical representation of pixel brightness in an image—with dark tones on the left, bright tones on the right, and a gradation of everything else in between. By using this essential tool you'll be able to modify aperture and/or shutter speed to consistently nail exposure in just about every situation you confront.

So watch Simon's demonstration, activate the histogram in your camera's Display Settings menu, and exposure problems will be a thing of the past. Once you're done, head over to his instructional YouTube channel for more helpful tips and tricks.

On a related note, be sure to watch last week's lesson with several pro tips for shooting eye-popping photos after the sun drops below the horizon.