AEL – Auto Exposure Lock. This is a great feature to use if you’re working in a priority mode and dealing with high-contrast lighting conditions like the backlit photo here,
shade vs. sun, dark colors vs. light colors, etc.
Using this feature will allow you to keep your exposure the same while re-composing your frame. In order to do this you will find and push the button labeled AEL/AFL or * while pointing the camera at the area you want the camera to take the exposure from.
CANON NIKON SONY PENTAX
Here are the steps:
1. Point your camera at the area you want to take the exposure from while in Program, Aperture Priority, or Shutter Priority modes.
2. Push your shutter release half way down to activate the meter and allow the camera to acquire an exposure.
3. Push and hold the Auto Exposure Lock button while re-positioning the camera to get the frame you’d like.
4. Take the shot.
You’ll notice that when you push the AEL button, the shutter and aperture numbers will freeze (if you can see them on your model). This is because the exposure is locked in. Depending on your camera model, you may have to designate the button as EITHER Auto Exposure OR Auto Focus Lock.
That’s it! This helps tremendously when you have very different exposures in different parts of the frame, and you want the camera to expose for one part, not the other. In the photo above of the woman with the horse, notice the sky behind her is totally blown out. This is because it is so much brighter than she was. In order to get this shot in a priority mode, you’d have to take the exposure from the ground to get the exposure, and then re-position the frame to include the sky while using your AEL. In situations like this, it’s either one or the other – you can’t get both areas properly exposed so you have to choose which is most important to you. Unless, of course, you use HDR or compositing, which is another tip for another day!
Have fun shooting!