Clipping

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by Boutte, Aug 25, 2009.

  1. Boutte

    Boutte TPF Noob!

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    My new camera seems to overexpose everything. I often have compensate two full stops. Is it me , the camera or just bad lighting. Here's an example and the extreme steps i find myself taking to tyry to save many of my shots.

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  2. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    From your example, the problem seems to be your metering.

    The first image actually looks well exposed, except for the flower heads, which are somewhat overexposed....but that's to be expected because they are brighter than the majority of the image and they don't take up much area and therefore don't influence the camera's meter reading very much.

    This particular scene might be hard to meter accurately, so I'd suggest you bracket your shots.
     
  3. chammer

    chammer TPF Noob!

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    bigmike: i've been having much of the same problem, and have read about the different metering modes and have yet to figure out what im doing wrong as well. i normally find myself shooting at -1/3, -2/3, -1 EV to keep from blowing out things (mainly white fur on puppies). i thought maybe it was the xsi, but my 50d does it as well.

    just a simple case of not knowing how to use what and when? i mainly use evaluative metering but have also tried spot and center weighted without much of a difference. :( it's getting irritating, but for now i have my workarounds...i'd just love to be able to shoot "normal" though.
     
  4. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Metering is a whole aspect of photography that gets overlooked by a lot of people.
    The first step is understanding the dynamic range of your camera. For example, if you are shooting a puppy that is mostly dark, but has white spots...then you need to realize that the tonal difference between the two might be greater than the camera can capture in a single exposure. When this is the case, you have to make a choice....do you exposure for the darker areas, do you expose for the brighter areas or do you try to compromise?
    Next, you need to understand what the camera's meter is trying to do. It takes what it sees and tries to make it middle (18%) grey. So you may need to adjust the exposure away from --0-- just to get an 'accurate' exposure. And of course, the metering modes play a part here because that's what determines how much of the scene the camera meters from and how it takes that into account.

    Things can be a little different in the digital era. Here are two things I suggest reading...
    Understanding Histograms
    Expose Right
     
  5. chammer

    chammer TPF Noob!

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    thanks, bigmike! the histogram is something i keep overlooking. i try to understand it but end up getting lost for some reason. i have no problems understanding the other aspects such as iso, shutter speed, aperture, and the like. have used photoshop for many years, but never cared to learn about the histogram in that as it was mostly pointless for what i was using photoshop for. its obviously something i need to learn for photography, however, so i will keep plucking away until i understand it. the links you posted will help, and i also have the understanding exposure book that im trying to find time to read.

    the puppies have definitely been a challenge, and even in a series of "rapid fire" shots some will be dark and some will be washed/blown out and bright even when it doesnt appear that the lighting outdoors has changed or even the camera has moved much, if any, to change the scene.

    at least the puppies are giving me a crash course to "understanding exposure" by posing the challenge that they do lol. :)
     
  6. Christie Photo

    Christie Photo No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Lets remember.... the meter is telling us how to achieve gray. So the logical thing to do is meter grey or, at the very least, something in the scene (with the same lighting) that reflects a similar level of light.

    -Pete
     
  7. chammer

    chammer TPF Noob!

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    christie: ah ha! that makes sense then. thanks!
     
  8. mrodgers

    mrodgers No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Bit of a thread hijack there....

    For the original post, 1/200, F/10, ISO100 and Landscape mode.

    Boutte, what lens is that, the 18-55 or the 55-200?

    Take the camera out of Landscape Mode, or any other auto modes.

    Put it in Aperture Priority. Set the aperture to the widest (F/3.5 I'm guessing). Set the metering to spot metering. Put the center spot in your viewfinder on one of the flowers and push the shutter down halfway. While holding the shutter, you can reframe the image you want to capture and take the shot.

    If you still feel it is overexposed, you can adjust the exposure compensation to achieve what you want, that is why you have it. Not all cameras expose exactly the same and some need more compensation, some less, and some not at all.

    Aperture Priority lets you control the aperture while the camera controls the shutter for the exposure. The larger aperture (lower number) will blur the background such as in a photo like this. Smaller aperture (larger number) will give more in focus for stuff like landscapes.

    Exposure compensation allows you to tell the camera to override what it thinks is the correct exposure and compensate for it. For example with the Aperture Priority mode, if you change the exposure compensation, the camera will adjust the shutter speed for you while holding the specific aperture you first dialed in.

    When you are in auto modes (auto, landscape, sunset, beach, portrait, sports, or whatever else your camera may have) the camera makes all decisions and you have no control over anything.
     
  9. benlonghair

    benlonghair TPF Noob!

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    I generally find myself shooting in aperture priority at -2/3 to -4/3 stops. I find it easier to up the exposure if needed in PP than to knock it down.
     
  10. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    You will get more noise that way.
    Expose Right

    Of course, blown out details may be lost forever while shadow details can often be pulled up from apparent darkness.
     
  11. Christie Photo

    Christie Photo No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Why?


    And.... if you are able to meter only a single flower, you'll be under exposed.

    -Pete
     
  12. robertwsimpson

    robertwsimpson No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    for handheld shots, I usually just snap a reference shot that is metered how I think it should be, and then look for blinking spots... if there are any, then I re-shoot with a faster shutter... the more you shoot, the more you realize what will blow stuff out and what won't. practice practice practice... and I do the same thing... better to underexpose a little bit of the photograph than to overexpose stuff. then you can compensate for exposure in PP software, making 2 images and combine them. kind of a poor man's AEB if you don't have a tripod. that's what I do anyway. Seems to work ok when needed.

    on the whole, I try to avoid shots with big differences in light (ie bright subjects on a dark background or dark subjects on a bright background).
     

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