how to take "consistent" photos?

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by idlewire, Nov 30, 2007.

  1. idlewire

    idlewire TPF Noob!

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    Hello, I am interested in taking (mostly indoor) pictures of rooms and stuff from different angles. I notice that sometimes the overall color of the picture or brightness changes from picture to picture, depending on where I am standing.

    How can I have all the pictures be consistent in terms of color and brightness? I am using a digital point-and-shoot. Obviously I am not using flash for that would surely affect the lighting dependent on my orientation to objects.

    So for example, let's say a table is off to the side in one shot, but then in another I am closer and straight on -- how can I get the color/brightness in both shots to match? Should I use the manual setting and lock in values, keeping them the same for each pic, or something like that?

    Thanks for any help!
     
  2. stubbsk

    stubbsk TPF Noob!

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    Yeah manual is a good idea.

    You will however have to change aperture and shutter speed between shots due to available light.

    I'm geussing your shooting with a digital. Set the white balance to a pre defined or custom setting, not automatic. Use the same ISO if possible. Apart from that consistent brightness comes from correct exposure.

    You can however work with colour and brightness on the computer which is fine unless you want to radically alter the image which can be problematic.
     
  3. Big Mike

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

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    Welcome to the forum.

    Your problem is that the camera's built-in meter is responding to what it sees...which might be different in each shot...like if you include a window in the shot, then don't.

    The camera is probably set to choose a white balance setting for each shot...which might change from one shot to the next.

    Putting the camera into manual exposure mode and setting a constant WB setting should help your problem.
     
  4. idlewire

    idlewire TPF Noob!

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    Hi, thanks for the welcome Big Mike.

    So I guess the key is to not let the camera "choose" the settings for each shot. So - question: if I put it into a predefined white balance mode, it doesn't try to calculate anything based on sensors? Like what it thinks is white and compare it to the predefined setting...?

    I am a little confused about the whole brightness issue. I realize that highlights on objects will vary depending on the angle to the camera, but I don't think "general" brightness changes as you move around a room, for example -- and isn't the "exposure" for the general brightness?

    Last question out of curiousity: how do video cameras deal with this? Because they stay relatively consistent. Do they "lock in" settings when they first start recording?
     
  5. Big Mike

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

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    The white balance is basically just a setting for color temperature, that is applied to the image. In Auto WB, the camera will take a reading and apply what it thinks is appropriate...which may not be correct. Most cameras have a few predefined settings like sunny, cloudy, indoors etc. The will lock the WB to a predefined value so it should at least be consistent. Some cameras will allow you to set a custom value (see your manual). Better cameras allow you to shoot in RAW mode, which allows you to set the WB value in the post production stage (on the computer).


    Well, if the brightness was constant, then your camera would probably have given you consistent photos. The actual level of light in the room may not have changed...but the camera only 'sees' the part of the room that is in the viewfinder...and the 'reflectivity' of the objects in the viewfinder may change from one shot to the next....which is basically what the camera's meter is reading.

    I don't really know...but I would guess that a video camera in 'auto' mode would adjust the aperture of it's lens to adjust for changing light levels. Because it's a video rather than a still image, it looks more natural to our eyes....or so I would guess.
     
  6. stubbsk

    stubbsk TPF Noob!

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    If you lock your aperture and shutter speed then what is bright in one part of a room may be dark in another. You would probably have to use the matrix metering in your camera or expose for the mid tones. I don't know much about video cameras, however the principle should be the same.

    Basically you should be okay using the pre-set white balance specific to the scene like sunlight,shade or flash for consistent colour. However for luminosity every image has to be different because that is the basis of every photograph. On the other hand for the values to be consistently similar you have to correctly expose for the entire scene every time. I'm probably not explaining myself well enough, I might not even be right, I like to think I know a lot more then I obviously do.
     

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