Can somebody please help

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by jj_photo, Jul 21, 2005.

  1. jj_photo

    jj_photo TPF Noob!

    Jul 21, 2005
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    I am having problems with some of my pictures turning out a little dark. I'm using a canon Elan 7ne and a Hensel Integra 500 monolight kit. and I am using a light meter to get my reading, and I enter them into the camera via the manual mode, and for some reason they still seem a bit dark.... Is there an issue with camera settings or lens that would affect my aperature and other settings..

    Thanks for the help,
  2. Mike Jordan

    Mike Jordan TPF Noob!

    Jun 1, 2005
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    Hillsboro, Oregon
    It might not be you at all, Jeff. It could be your lab and how they are printing them. Do your picturs have a lot of bright or light areas in them? If so, the printing machine could be reading that area and reducing exposure as it tries to get a 18% gray reading.

    Your meter could be off as well, resulting in under exposures. The only way to tell is to do some test shots. If you have one, use a black/gray/white card (or just a black/white if that is all you have) and if you are shooting a person, someone that will sit for you a bit. And some sticky note paper or other paper. Have the person hold the card so that it shows in all the pictures. Make sure it is evenly lit with the same light lighting the person. Meter the scene. Right that down on one of the pieces of paper and stick it to the side of the card or somewhere where you can see it when printed. Take a couple of shots.

    Now, from that setting, reduce your fstop by 1/3 stops, taking a picture at each setting (and writing the fstop on the paper and adding it to the shot) until you have shot down to 2 stops under your reading. Now go back to the fstop from your meter reading and go up in 1/3 steps, taking a picture and writing it down for each shot, until you have gotten to 2 stops above your metered reading.

    Have the film developed and printed where you normally have it done. If the lab can do it, tell them you want the exposure for the printing of the roll based on the first image and to not adjust it from there. This way everything is based on your first metered shots and you can see how it goes for the rest based on the fstop adjustments.

    When you get the prints, spred them out in the order you took them and look for the best exposure. See what the reading is and how far it is from your metered reading. Next time you take pictures, adjust your setting up or down from the metered reading based on what you see from your test roll. It probably won't always be the same, but it will give you a starting point.

    Back when I did film, I bought some of the 12 roll film to do testing like this so I wouldn't have to go through a 24 or 36 exposure roll while testing. 12 exposures is about right for testing like this. Slide film is really the best for exposure testing, since you eliminate the printing, which is where a lot of exposure problems can show up as the lab equipment tries to determine the best look... even if what it determines is not correct.


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