lighting

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by ella, Jan 21, 2004.

  1. ella

    ella TPF Noob!

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    I am still fairly new to photography and was hoping if someone could help me out on lighting...

    I find that a lot of my photos come out really clean, clear and vivid when I use natural light. I love the effect indoors I can get when the light pours in from the window onto an object, especially on a bright day.
    When there is no natural light, or the lighting is poor, my photos come out very dull, and still not as good as they could be after adjusting levels/brightness/contrast etc in Pshop. In some light conditions, if I use a flash, it just drowns a photo and it can be totally over-exposed, and if I don't use a flash then the lighting is awful.
    I'm not familiar with apature (sp?) or shutterspeed settings, though I gather they have some effect on the lighting of a photo? I have also heard people say "I let the camera select the shutterspeed" Could someone explain what this means?
    The camera I have is a Canon Powershot A70. Anyone familiar with this make/model?

    Thanks for any help!
     
  2. Big Mike

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

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    Welcome Ella,

    First thing you should do is to learn about exposure. There are some good books but you could probably find some good info around here. Once you learn how shutter speed and aperture affect exposure, you have an advantage.

    Basically, the aperture is the hole in the lens that light comes through. Measured in F\stops. The smaller the number the bigger the hole. Shutter speed is how long the shutter stays open. Usually fractions of a second 1/60 or 1/125 ext. Your camera may just show the denominator 60, 125 etc. They are inversely related...if you close down the aperture, you have to keep the shutter open longer to compensate.

    Your camera will take a measurement of the scene and pick an aperture and shutter speed to give an average exposure. You can use different modes like aperture priority which lets you pick the aperture and the camera uses the shutter speed to get proper exposure. The opposite with shutter priority mode. That's what is meant by letting the camera pick the shutter speed or aperture.

    With your particular camera (& most digitals) the camera controls the white balance. There is probably an auto mode that will work most of the time but not always. Check your manual. You may want to change the white balance to indoor or what ever applies. There might also be a manual mode which lets you set the while balance by pointing the camera at something that is white before taking the picture.

    On camera flashes are not really the best way to light a picture. In auto mode, the camera will use the flash when it reads that there is not enough ambient light. If you want to try some pictures in lower light situations without the flash...set the flash to off and put the camera on a tripod or something that will support it...use the timer so that you are not touching or holding the camera when it snaps the picture.

    Does any of this answer your questions?
     
  3. metroshane

    metroshane TPF Noob!

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    Use the info Big Mike gave to better your photos, but natural light will always make a better pic. Just the way it goes.
     
  4. ksmattfish

    ksmattfish Now 100% DC - not as cool as I once was, but still

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    The masters of artificial lighting are those who can make it look natural.

    Aperture is used to control exposure from the flash (subject); shutter speed is used to control exposure from available light (background).
     
  5. voodoocat

    voodoocat ))<>(( Supporting Member

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    They do get a little help from expensive lighting equipment with snoots and gobo's and honeycombs, etc.
     

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