Color Help - Natural Light Shooting

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by Saddlebreds4me, May 25, 2009.

  1. Saddlebreds4me

    Saddlebreds4me TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2008
    Messages:
    235
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    New Hampshire
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    First of all I just want to thank those who have helped me with so many issues I've had shooting, focusing et al - this forum as been such a wonderful resource to me, so thank you!

    I went to shoot another horse show this weekend and I had never been in the venue prior to the shoot (it's about an hour away from me). When I got inside to set up my camera I was less than pleased at the photographic conditions for natural light shooting. I was hoping to post a couple of photos and get some feedback on them. Having said that, also know that the exposure literally changed from one frame to the next as the very small strip of sun moved around the arena. The basic lighting was hanging incandescent lights with quite literally a netting that was hung under them throughout the arena - in case one of them fell? I don't know why it was there but it was a yellow/green/tan color netting. Ugh.

    The walls were natural wood and the footing in the arena was the same color as the wall - no wonder with my new focal settings I was having issues because there was no contrast. Then you have, in the case of this photo - a chestnut colored horse and everything gets lost! Maybe these are the hazards of natural light shooting?

    [​IMG]

    I tried playing with the individual colors in Lightroom but I was only making it worse...anyone want to try this?

    As it got into the evening everything got worse because all I had was the artificial light - it was frustrating to say the least.

    Aperture: f/2.8
    Focal Length: 200mm
    ISO: 2500 (I played with this quite a bit, not really knowing where to land)
    Shutter Speed: 1/250

    Then in late afternoon light in the same arena - I was able to get this:

    [​IMG]

    The inconsistency drove me crazy! Thanks in advance for any help or suggestions.
     
  2. tirediron

    tirediron Watch the Birdy! Staff Member Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2005
    Messages:
    37,414
    Likes Received:
    10,678
    Location:
    Victoria, BC
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    Definitely some tough conditions, but you had the gear for it. Here's what I would have done:

    -Shoot in RAW and set WB to auto. This generally gives very good results, but will allow you to adjust as required.

    -Select single-point or manual focus

    -Set ISO as high as it needs to be (3200?) to hand-hold your images. Given the glass you're using, I would want a shutter speed of at least 1/250th

    One of the problems you're going to have is that DoF is going to be very shallow, so knowing where the camera is focusing is critical. Remember, if there are eyes, focus on them.
     
  3. Saddlebreds4me

    Saddlebreds4me TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2008
    Messages:
    235
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    New Hampshire
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    Thanks for the suggestions! I thought about RAW but then I also realized that my first 8G card would have been eaten up rather quickly...and there were a lot of horses to shoot - but I will definitely try that next time.

    I was shooting in Manual - and no lower than 1/250th - I did leave my WB in auto because even with my Expodisc which would give me a "good" indication - it was still goofy. So I thought I could correct it later and left it in auto - I also did switch back and forth between single shoot and multiple - I kept it on multiple really just based on my subject, having said that, I am getting better at the one off shots, but you have to be ON timing wise to shoot a photo worth selling to anyone.

    I wasn't sure what to do with ISO - as the lighting got progressively worse during the day I tried upping it just a little then taking it back down - I shot anywhere from 1800 - 6400.

    So thank you again! I can't wait for the next show! I try to take the advice given to me here and see what I can do with it....if nothing else, it's fun to try.
     
  4. musicaleCA

    musicaleCA TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    May 23, 2009
    Messages:
    2,303
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Vancouver, BC
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    Shooting on manual might be over-complicating matters, since you aren't using a flash/strobe, and especially since you're shooting moving targets, and the lighting changes so quickly. Try shooting in one of the semi-auto modes, Av (aperture-priority) or Tv (shutter-priority). Personally I'd go with the former, and then adjust ISO to get well into your safe zone for shutter speed (which in this case should also stop motion nicely; if you want any shots with motion blur, make sure you bring a tripod/monopod with you), and you can keep control of the DoF. Let the camera figure-out the correct exposure, because it can do it a lot faster than you (setting exposure comp. to -1/3 stop may also be a good idea, so that you don't get clipping in the highlights; remember that your light meter is dumb and tries to make everything 18% grey). Also, since they're moving, keeping the aperture around f/4 will make it a lot more likely that you got the subject completely in focus. If you really need/want to, you can add a little bit more background blur in Photoshop.

    Also, a major problem I see that you ran into (in the first photo) is that you have a lot of different colour tempertures to deal with. This isn't something easy to fix in-camera, but you should look for lines-of-sight that will give you a single colour temp in your scene (or at least, try to minimize how many conflicting temps there are). You can use the adjustment brush in Lightroom to paint a colour over areas that need to be warmer/cooler, but it's better to work in Photoshop for this (using multiple layers...and yadda yadda; if you have PS I can go into more detail). Oh, and shoot RAW. Good memory from good brands (e.g. Lexar) is very, very cheap now. I grabbed two 8GB Lexar SDHC cards from Future Shop recently for a mere $30 CDN each. It's probably the cheapest piece of gear, even when you buy high quality, and the benifits you'll get from post-processing in RAW will quickly outweigh the initial cost.

    As for the lack-of-contrast, try using the adjustment brush in Lightroom to go over the horse and rider and bring up the exposure a little (and I mean a little). You can add a little more contrast, clarity, and saturation too to give the subject just a bit more punch.

    Unfortunately that horse looks a little soft. Shooting with a smaller aperture should help your focusing issues.

    Lastly, if your lens has it, make sure IS (image stabalization on Canon, and...er...something else on Nikon) is on. That will let you get a few more stops of light with a slower shutter speed while still hand-holding the camera, and without punching-up the ISO (don't get me wrong, increasing ISO is a good way to get a higher exposure, but lower ISO will always give you a cleaner image in the end).
     
    Last edited: May 25, 2009
  5. TiCoyote

    TiCoyote TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2009
    Messages:
    607
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    New England
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    Is #2 cropped? I think I'm seeing some distortion. Being able to shoot with a faster shutter would have definately helped matters, and 2500 is a pretty high ISO, so you can run into some noise there. I'm wondering if you would have been better off with a prime lens. It would have let in more light and probably given you a sharper focus.
     
  6. Dwig

    Dwig TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2009
    Messages:
    1,261
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Key West FL
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    As MusicaleCA correctly noted, you were working under mixed color lighting. This is something that can not be corrected, either in camera or in post. Sometimes you can do a bit by selectively adjusting color in different areas and adjusting color differently in the highlights and in the shadows. Still, good correction is impossible.

    Using Auto WB is probably an ok idea if you shoot JPEG, but it can go really wonky at times. In auto it can adjust when the lighting balance changes from dominantly daylight (like the "good" shot of the horse heading directly into the camera) to dominantly artificial. It would be better to shoot RAW so that you can do manual adjustments later when the auto system misses.

    Still, WB can only correct for one light source. If one side of the subject is mostly lit by daylight and the other mostly by artificial, adjusting for one makes the other worse.
     
  7. Saddlebreds4me

    Saddlebreds4me TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2008
    Messages:
    235
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    New Hampshire
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    Thanks very much everyone, it sounds like my best bet is to shoot in RAW then do what I can in PP. It's funny, sometimes I think as beginners I think we (or I know I do) take advice from in my case, my mentor, who has told me I definitely want to shoot in manual mode - therefore in my beginner pea brain, I don't even give the other settings much consideration. My mentor has been shooting for 25-30 years - I've been shooting two years...BIG DIFFERENCE!!! :lol:

    But like a puppy, wanting to do the right thing and learn this manual business I get a one track mind - so just wanted to thank you for suggesting I try my other settings and see how my camera responds - while I am glad to be out of that arena and situation, I now wish I could go back and try again.

    The 2nd photo, which I really like, I cropped just a hair - not too much. I'm just curious as to where you are seeing the distortion, I would like to learn as much as possible and I admit it, my eyes aren't the greatest - I have a horrible astigmatism and feel like sometimes my own vision is not crystal clear - and that it's me not my camera!

    Oh, TiCoyote, you mentioned that I might have been better off with a prime lens - can you explain that to me? What is the difference between a prime lens and the two Nikkors I shoot with now? Thanks!

    Dwig - your comments make me feel better in that I felt like I was totally lost regarding my WB so the auto setting seemed to make the most sense to me. And I was shooting in JPEG so I tried to do the best with the conditions I had to work with. You've given me a lot to think about with regard to your last comment about WB adjusting for only one light source...I definitely had a combination of artificial and some natural albeit limited lighting.
     

Share This Page

Search tags for this page

to set color of natural light

,

what colors help natural lighting