Nikon D800 User Manual (en)

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Autoexposure (AE) Lock
Use autoexposure lock to recompose photographs after using 
center-weighted metering and spot metering to meter exposure. 
Note that matrix metering will not produce the desired results.
1
Lock exposure.
Position the subject in the selected 
focus point and press the shutter-
release button halfway. With the 
shutter-release button pressed halfway 
and the subject positioned in the focus 
point, press the 
AE-L/AF-L button to 
lock exposure (if you are using 
autofocus, confirm that the 
I in-focus 
indicator appears in the viewfinder).
While exposure lock is in effect, an AE-L 
indicator will appear in the viewfinder.
2
Recompose the 
photograph.
Keeping the 
AE-L/AF-L button 
pressed, recompose the 
photograph and shoot.
Shutter-release 
button
AE-L/AF-L button