One way to make sure you get at least one image that has a good exposure is to use bracketing, which means that you take one exposure at the setting your camera’s light meter thinks is correct (0 on the light meter) and you take at least two more exposures, one at -1 stop and one at +1 stop.
That might sound like a bit of a hassle, but most cameras have a setting for automatic exposure bracketing which makes it quick and easy. Check your camera manual to see whether your camera has this feature and, if so, how to turn it on.
AEB in Camera Menu
AEB showing +1, 0, -1 brackets
With automatic exposure bracketing on, you simply hold down the shutter until your camera takes 3 exposures and voilà. This is even faster if you set your shutter drive mode to continuous high speed.
AEB will work on Aperture Priority and Shutter Priority exposure modes and on some cameras it will even work in Manual mode.
I usually use AEB on Aperture Priority mode because I like to have control over my depth of field for landscape photography. On this setting the camera will take the photo at three different shutter speeds to give you the three different exposures. It is important to use this setting if you think you might want to combine the exposures in post-processing.
In this scene, the white sky caused the camera’s light meter to choose a darker exposure than was necessary. I decided that the +1 exposure was the best option.
After processing the +1 exposure, this is the final version of the Vancouver City Skyline image.
If you use AEB on Shutter Priority mode, the camera will take the photo at three different apertures to give you the three different exposures. This is the best option to choose if you need to freeze motion at a fast shutter speed and depth of field is less of a concern.
Using AEB is the best method to use when things are happening quickly and you don’t want to spend any time looking at your LCD (known as “chimping”) after you make an image. When things are happening fast, chimping can cause you to miss a shot.