Whenever I shoot with my Nikon D5300 in manual mode I set settings so that photos have bit more pop to them - brighter than what the camera exposure meter says the correct exposure is.

For instance, I would we taking photos in bright sunlight with aperture 2.8, ISO auto (camera auto sets it between 100 and 200) and I would set the shutter at 1/500. But there would still be one or two lines to the right indicating that my shot is overexposed.

If I then change the shutter to 1/640 the exposure is perfect (according to the camera) but to me it looks dull and grey.

Did I not understand something about exposure? Also, is this a Nikon "thing" or my camera model thing?

However, I don't think it is camera related because if I open those "overexposed" photos in Lightroom and try to correct them with "Auto" Lightroom will again do the same thing as camera wanted me to do which is lower the exposure (making everything dull and boring as hell).

What am I missing here?

  • 4
    \$\begingroup\$ Would you be able to post up an example of what you think is correct exposure vs what the camera/LR choose? Also have a look at this regarding "correct exposure" - photo.stackexchange.com/questions/38528/… \$\endgroup\$
    – MikeW
    Apr 8, 2018 at 21:10

2 Answers 2


It is quite possible it is your monitor / screen "thing".

It is quite common for computer screens to be unnaturally bright and high in contrast.

You might never know unless you have yours callibrated - it is surprisingly difficult to notice without a reference.

A natural reaction to overly bright and contrasty screen is turning down the brightness (exposure) and contrast of your photos.


What am I missing here?

How to see, and how to use the camera and control it.

I would we be taking photos in bright sunlight

Is it noon, is the sun used as a backlight, on the shade, is there grass around or is it sand on the beach. Do you have a forest as background or the sea?

You can not make the same mechanical decisions your camera makes. "Oh, I will use always 1 stop more than my camera says" That is the same mechanical logic a sensor has.

Here are some scenarios.

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In case A your camera will see much light and tell you to darken it and in case B will tell you to lighten it up.

So you probably should use spot metering.

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But in this cases,enter image description here you also need to reframe after the measurement is done.

Those are just some examples. Yes, you could always set an exposition compensation on the camera, but the important thing is that you need to "see" the overall "picture" and act accordingly.

There are many ways to "act accordingly". Using flashes, compensations, zone system, Hdri, opening a window, using reflectors, moving the subject, using a tree...

This could be also a matter of "Style".


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