BetterPhoto Q&A
Category: New Questions

Photography Question 
Theresa L. Witt

Black has no detail in my photos

I shoot with a Nikon D300s and I am noticing that the color black has no detail. Is there a setting or technique I can use to prevent this? It is especially bad when there is very light or white areas and dark areas in the same photo.


To love this question, log in above
12/27/2010 6:02:06 PM

Usman M. Bajwa
BetterPhoto Member Since: 4/11/2006
Contact Usman
Usman's Gallery
  Try using the HDR technique by bracketing your exposure to recover the details in the dark portions of your image, this will come specially handy in contrasty (dark and bright areas within the frame) situations. Hope this helps.


To love this comment, log in above
12/27/2010 10:57:34 PM

Bob Cammarata
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/17/2003
  Glade Creek
Glade Creek

Without D-Lighting

© Bob Cammarata
Nikon D300 Digital...

  Glade Creek
Glade Creek

With Capture NX D-Lighting applied

© Bob Cammarata
Nikon D300 Digital...

Digital cameras (like slide films) have very narrow exposure latitudes.
Your highlight to shadow ratios will never be perfectly balanced in extreme conditions.
Fortunately for us, there is a way to get a little more detail in the shadow areas.
There is an "Active D-Lighting" setting on the D300 which can be utilized to balance harsh conditions at the scene. (Refer to pages 167-168 of the D-300 manual for more details.)

Capture NX Software, which should have been included with your D-300s, also has a "D-Lighting" feature which can balance the highlight to shadow ratio after the fact.
The attached examples show a typical high contrast scene with and without D-Lighting.

To love this comment, log in above
12/28/2010 3:25:01 AM

doug Nelson   Look at the histogram for images in which the shadows look blocked up. Does your histogram "train wreck" to the left? (no tapering off, just an abrupt pile-up of darks) If so, reshoot it, giving a plus one exposure compensation. Try a plus 1.5 or a plus 2.

My Pentax DSLR has settings to tailor the jpg image to your liking, with choices over contrast, sharpening and saturation levels. Check to see if you have Contrast set too high.

Keep in mind, too, that some images DO exceed the contrast range of your digital sensor, and will have SOME blown whites and/or blocked shadows.

Finally, shoot RAW more often and use a good RAW processing software (PS Elements is a bargain at under $100) to adjust your capture to your liking.

To love this comment, log in above
12/28/2010 10:41:32 AM

Log in to respond or ask your own question.