Help shooting white clothing

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by bellacat, Jan 8, 2008.

  1. bellacat

    bellacat TPF Noob!

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    This weekend I have a session with two sisters in a park who want to wear white. I have only shot white once before and it was blown out. I really could use some advice please;)
     
  2. Big Mike

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

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    It's all in the metering. If you just meter the whole scene...the camera will include the background and give you an average...which will most likely blow out any white clothing.

    On the other hand, if you just meter for the white clothing, then the camera will think it's a bright scene and give you settings that will underexpose.

    If you don't have a light meter or a grey card, I would suggest that you take a reading off of your subject's faces. Put the camera into manual mode, get in close (maybe use spot metering as well) and adjust the settings to centre the 'needle' in the viewfinder. Depending on the tone of their skin, you may want to adjust it so that the needle is off of zero. For lighter skin, adjust it positive.

    Then you can back up and shoot the whole scene...keeping the camera in manual. You may have to tweak it a bit but that's the idea.

    If you are still blowing out the white clothing then adjust your exposure down until you are not blowing out the whites. Ideally, you probably want it so that the white clothes are just a notch below being blown out.
     
  3. jstuedle

    jstuedle No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    If you have a gray card (Kodak 18% Gray) set your exposure manually and go from there. Take a test shot and look at your histogram and see if you are clipping your highlights.
     
  4. jstuedle

    jstuedle No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Just not as quick as you are Mike. :)
     
  5. Sideburns

    Sideburns TPF Noob!

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    If you don't have a gray card...and you're caucasian(looks like you are in the picture)...you can meter off of the palm of your hand.
     
  6. nicfargo

    nicfargo TPF Noob!

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    If it's not extremely formal, I'd just Chimp it (take a shot, look at the screen, adjust, take another shot, repeat). Like Mike said, exposure is going to be what you want here. Shooting in manual is going to be paramount in getting a good shot here. I honestly can't think of the last time I didn't shoot in manual...I'm a control freak.
     
  7. Big Mike

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

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    Don't forget to add one stop of light from what you get. :er:

    Actually, most people's palms are about the same...caucasian or not.
     
  8. bellacat

    bellacat TPF Noob!

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    thanks guys, you rock. I will try these. I don't have a light meter or grey card but i will try the other tips you guys mentioned.
     
  9. bellacat

    bellacat TPF Noob!

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    I have been shooting in manual as much as i can since I got my new camera so I am getting more familiar with the settings vs shooting in aperture priority.
     
  10. Big Mike

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

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    Another tip is that green foliage (grass for example) is often the same tone as middle grey (a grey card). So if you see some grass that is nice and green and it's in the same light as your subject, you can use that to take a meter reading and set your exposure.

    Once you get the hang of it, you can meter off of just about anything. It's just a matter of knowing how much to adjust away from zero for what you are metering. You could try metering off of the white clothing and adding about two stops...etc.

    All that being said, I usually just watch my histogram and Expose to the Right.
     
  11. bellacat

    bellacat TPF Noob!

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    oh i will have to try the grass too and compare the results. Its been raining like mad here so the parks are really green.

    thanks for the link Mike
     

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