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Category: New Questions

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Photography Question 
Celeste McWilliams

member since: 7/20/2004
 

Lighting/Exposure Issues


 
 
I take lots of outdoor photos (with Nikon D300), such as the attached photo of my daughter at the beach. If I center-weight my exposure, she looks fine but the background is washed out. If I don't center-weight the exposure, the background looks fine and her features are dark, so I need to edit and "fill light" them picture. After that, my contrast and blacks are screwed up, so it takes some time to get the photo looking right. Aside from constantly using a fill flash (which I don't see much of with other outdoor D300 users), what settings can I use to get my daughter and the background to expose better?

6/13/2009 3:55:07 AM

 
John Rhodes
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 2/24/2005
  Celeste, you're on the right track to think of fill flash. Try exposing for the background, even underexposing by a stop or so, then use fill flash at ttl and plus/minus flash exposure as needed. You might have to take one or two test shots to find the right balance, but your photos will be much improved with less editing. I recommend an off-camera flash for the most pleasing results.

6/13/2009 4:36:26 AM

 
Celeste McWilliams

member since: 7/20/2004
 
 
 
Ok, let me play devil's advocate here...

The attached photo... I was quite some distance from this mill, so using fill flash was out of the question. I locked my exposure meter on the mill so I could see the detail...which resulted in the sky being completely washed out, making none of the clouds that were there visible. (BTW, the long-exposure waterfall portion of this photo was edited in.) Do I need to somehow adjust my on-camera contrast or something, or do I need to make a lengthy edit of every contrasting photo? Help!!!

6/29/2009 1:46:01 PM

 
Gregory LaGrange
BetterPhoto Member
gregorylagrange.org

member since: 11/11/2003
  Actually what you need to do for the mill is take a picture on a better day for taking pictures, and during a time of that day when the is right.
The main keys to doing a good landscape picture are two things that usually don't get talked about, and that's the keys to the car that takes you to where the good landscapes are. And to be at that place on a day when the light is good and the sky looks good.
Your beach picture, try going to beach earlier or later than high noon.

6/29/2009 3:32:07 PM

 
A P
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 1/1/2008
  That's fine if you have all the time in the world to sit there and wait for the right light and conditions Gregory. But sometimes you have to shot when you're going to be there, good light or not. My suggestion to you Celeste is two separate exposures. One exposure on the mill (which is dark) and the other exposure on the water or something lighter that will allow for the sky to be exposed properly. Then just blend the two exposures together in PS. This works for me.

6/29/2009 3:40:14 PM

 
Gregory LaGrange
BetterPhoto Member
gregorylagrange.org

member since: 11/11/2003
  Or with just a ounce of knowledge you can go during a time of day when the light is usually good and do your picture taking. Maybe a couple hours max. Save the rest of the time in the world for other things.
There's other ways also. She can shoot the mill tomorrow, then even if she's in another state next month, shoot the sky if she likes how it looks and then later on blend those together.
Depends on which way she wants to do it.

6/29/2009 4:46:47 PM

 
A P
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 1/1/2008
  Yeap I do that too. Living in LA I change out white skies all the time. But there are times when you can't control the 'time of day' your are at a location to photograph, right Gregory? You still have to be able to get the shot.

6/29/2009 5:39:15 PM

 
Gregory LaGrange
BetterPhoto Member
gregorylagrange.org

member since: 11/11/2003
  Leave open the possibility that being able to get the shot is where she's trying to get to, instead of relying on cut and paste.

6/29/2009 9:35:58 PM

 

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