ok , I decided to post under this section because it moves a bit slower than the 'general' section . 1.) Short version : You are at a location waiting for someone to arrive to take a picture of them , you have 5 minutes to play with , you have to get the correct exposure in the first picture - how do you approach that ? 2.) Long version : Someone asked me to take a few family shots when they were all dressed up , I went outside and found a nice wall in the shade with some side lighting coming in [ D70S ] . The wall was quite bright , after a few minutes they came outside , four of them and got into position . "Click" , I look at the screen and it looks to be underexposed a bit [ I had the flash on -1.7 TTL .] . I look up , they are all staring at me and smiling , as usual panic sets in so I dial in +1 and take another shot - still looks a bit under exposed [ technically not really but I was trying to get it right without having to edit later and adjust levels ] , I look up at them again , all smiling back at me and the adrenalin tells me to adjust the flash to zero compensation [ the "+1" EV of the camera ups that again as well ] , I take another shot , a few more portrait mode and when I look at the pictures later there are huge flash shadows behind them and bright flashed eyes . Now most of this is about panic when things don't look right . I could [should ]have kept the original settings and adjusted later but as soon as panic sets in I get irrational . I have "Understanding exposure " on order , should be here tomorrow but was wondering '' how do you make sure it is right in the first shot "? . I am slowly moving over to manual so what would be the approach there : Set exposure off the back of my hand in that light and keep that setting manually so I can make fine adjustments without affecting flash ? Grey card ? There must be a sure-fire method of getting it right in camera when the light is constant and you have some time before the subjects arrive .