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Photography Question 

How to get better prints of pictures shot in sun

I have searched countless websites including this one for an anwer to this question but haven't had any luck. I used to use a 35mm SLR camera that I loved and was very happy with. My husband recently bought me a Nikon D70 because he was tired of developing the countless roles of film I took. With the new camera I have had problems with distortion when I get prints made of pictures taken on sunny days (not a problem I had with the 35mm). A good example of this is the picture of Jim that appears at the top of this website. See how the sun is hitting one side of his face? When I get pictures such as this printed the sunlit portion comes out way to overexposed and distorted (no flash has been used). I do know that it is best to take pictures in the shade or on a slightly cloudy day but sometimes my little subjects don't cooperate. I have tried several things in Photoshop CS but it hasn't helped very much. Adjusting the levels just messed up the whole picture. Does anyone have any suggestions on how to fix this? Thanks so much for your time.


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11/23/2004 3:40:59 PM

Gregory LaGrange
BetterPhoto Member Since: 11/11/2003
  Negative film has more lattitude for overexposure than digital. Digital kinda like slide film with the range of exposure being off and still getting a print coming out right.
You probably had the same overexposure when you were using film but didn't know it because it was printed a little darker.
Closer attention needs to be paid to getting the exposure correct. When you're off by more the 1&1/2 stops, that's when highlights get to be unfixable. 1&1/2 is ballpark, other people may say more or less.

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11/23/2004 4:02:45 PM

Bob Cammarata
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/17/2003
  For harsh lighting conditions, if you meter off the highlights you can avoid the over-exposed "hot spots" on your prints.
Your shadow areas will darken a bit but it will be the lesser of two evils.
Ideally, as you know, ...diffused cloud cover is the optimal scenario.

It's funny,...I never noticed that on Jim's photo....(He still looks good, though.) :)

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11/23/2004 4:21:54 PM

Kip T. Berger
BetterPhoto Member Since: 2/20/2002
On sunny days, try placing him in a shadow area if possible then either use fill flash, or a reflector board / panel.
Or place him with the sun to his backside, then use the fill from either a reflector or flash. Using a large enough reflector should provide a more balanced lighting.

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11/24/2004 1:17:39 PM

Christine    Thanks for all your suggestions. I found that a big part of the problem was the developing. I believe there was either an equipment or software problem with many of the places that I tried taking the photos to. While it was my fault that an area of skin was overexposed when it was developed or printed it would come out hot white with an area of red bordering the overexposed area. I took the original as well as an edited version (I was able to dull the overexposed area with several darkening and hue layers in Photoshop) to several "professional" digital developers in our area along with some of the local one hour places. To my surprise Costco was the best of them all. By the way I did not intend that to be a criticism of Jim's photo. Sorry. Mostly, I just take pictures for my own enjoyment but have been paid for creating websites and for doing scrapbooks for other people. Again, thanks so much for taking the time to answer my question.

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11/26/2004 6:40:53 PM

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