I take pictures in Raw, use my light meter, and they come out under exposed, help?

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by Rachelsne, May 15, 2008.

  1. Rachelsne

    Rachelsne TPF Noob!

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    I take pictures in Raw, I use my light meter (I think thats what the thing that tells me how my pictures are exposed are called), to see if the exposure is correct, Because I had over exposed some pictures I purposely under exposed by a small amount so I would be able to save my pictures.

    Today I exposed properly my pictures making sure that the arrow was in the center of the meter but when I uploaded them and put them through the editor in elements 4, most of them needed to have the exposure increased still.

    What am I doing wrong?
     
  2. Valethar

    Valethar TPF Noob!

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    You may not be doing anything wrong. Is your monitor properly calibrated? That will make a difference in the way pictures appear on the computer vs the LCD on your camera.

    I think there was a thread about this here just this past week that may help, assuming it's the calibration thats causing this for you.
     
  3. Big Mike

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

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    You need to understand that when the arrow/needle is in the centre (0) of the meter...that doesn't necessarily mean that the image will be properly exposed. (although, it should be close).

    A camera's meter is calibrated to something around 18% grey *mid tone)...which is the average value for a typical scene. It has to be calibrated to something...

    So when your camera is metering a scene...it will always give you settings (middle of the scale) to expose the scene to 18% grey. If your scene isn't that tone...or even if it has bright or dark spots, then the meter reading may not be accurate for that scene. The camera doens't know what it's shooting...it just sees light and dark.

    For example, if you were shooting a scene with a lot of white snow...the camera would only think that it's really bright so it would give you settings that would underexpose the photo. If you had a scene with dark tones/colors...it would only think that it was dark and would give you too much exposure.

    So you, as the photographer, need to out think the camera's meter and adjust the exposure to compensate. When you scene is bright, you will need to add exposure to the meter reading. When it's dark, you may need to subtract exposure from the reading.

    There are other ways to get your exposure settings. You could use a hand held light meter and take an incident reading. You could use a grey card.

    With digital, we have a great tool on the camera. We can look at the histogram of the shot, then adjust the settings and shoot again. Have a look at this....http://www.luminous-landscape.com/tutorials/understanding-series/understanding-histograms.shtml
    and this...http://www.luminous-landscape.com/tutorials/expose-right.shtml
     
  4. Chris Stegner

    Chris Stegner TPF Noob!

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    I have a 5D, had a 10D, and before that a 20D. All of which I've never trusted the meter... Like you my meter never gives me what I think is the best exposure.

    I tend to underexpose because it's easier to bring out the shadows and mids, than to try to "make up" highlights. You can't add what's not there.

    You're already shooting RAW which is the best. I never shot RAW till about 6 months ago, and it's like night & day!

    In general I'd say never trust your meter all the way (I'm sure there's some here that will disagree, ie: recent post on Program Mode). I'm finding myself shooting more and more in Manual Mode but that's more because I want to "read" the scene and develop my knowledge/skills of light.

    Keep on plugging away!
     
  5. christopher walrath

    christopher walrath No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Naw, pilot error. No offense. BUt learn the characteristics of light and the limitations of your equipment and you will vastly improve. Your camera is dumb. Point your camera at gleaming quartz crystals and follow the on camera light meter to the letter and tehe crystals will appear a medium gray. Aim it at black charcoal and follow the leader once again, yup! Gray. WUDDUHELL!

    It can be maddening, but as Mike alluded to, your meter reads 18% grey. It wants to render your subject in that tone because it is made to assume that this is what you want. The best thing to do would be to meter portions of you subject and decide which would be the most important highlights and shadows and place your exposure in the center. That will do for now. But get some books such as 'Understanding Exposure' or 'The Negative', do some reading and experimenting and come back here with all your questions.
     

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even with metered exposure, my photos come out dark
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pictures are coming out under expose
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using light meter over exposes my pictures

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when my meeter is a 0 my pictures are over exposed

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when shooting jn raw how to use light meter
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why are my photos underexposed
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why do my light meters dissagree
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why do my pictures come out underexposed
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why take pictures in raw
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why would my pictures say they are proberly exposed on my camera, but too dark on my calibrated monitor?