Published Aug 25. 2015 - 1 year ago

Burned out fish

Watch out for very bright fish when using a flash. They can reflect the light and completely burn out in white like here.
Martin Joergensen


Martin Joergensen's picture


Burn-outs are basically overexposed areas in the image, and the simple way to avoid them is to underexpose. I have for many years had my digital cameras permanently set to underexpose 3/4 of an aperture step. Details from the dark areas can often be found in a photo-editing program once you get home, while burnt-out areas are lost forever. They have no detail, but are just white.

You can also try to avoid situations, which lead to burn-out areas like having reflections in the image, sharp light against you, very hard light/shadow combinations etc.

But my prime advice would be to generally underexpose.

Actually I have a whole article on exactly that subject on the bench right now, so if you have a little patience there will be even more details about this very important subject in digital photography.


I have a question as to how to avoid this "burn out" while taking a picture.
This seems to happen to me quite a bit, especially when I use my flash as suggested in one of your articles. I use a Olympus C5050 which has a number of adjustments when it comes to using the flash.
You can probably tell I am not an expert photographer by asking such a question but still manage to get a few good pics now and then! Some have even made it on your site.
Any information as to how I can avoid this "burn out" would be greatly appreciated. I'm always looking for a way to get a better picture.