Question on shooting white hair

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by kellylindseyphotography, Apr 23, 2008.

  1. kellylindseyphotography

    kellylindseyphotography TPF Noob!

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    HI all
    I am shooting a little boy whose hair is so blonde, its nearly white. I shoot using only natural light. I have taken his photos before and I always seem to blow out his hair.. here's an example:
    [​IMG]

    My settings were:
    f5.6
    ss 250
    iso100
    focal length 55

    Used the kit lens, its all I have.

    What's the best method for exposure when dealing w/a situation like this?
     
  2. PattiS

    PattiS TPF Noob!

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    Hi Kelly,
    If I'm photographing a child with hair this light I do my best to stay out of direct sun and instead seek out open shade. If open shade is not possible, and the blow outs are clearly going to be at a level that's intolerable to you, another option is to put a hat on him. I also think kids look adorable with hooded jackets or sweaters with the hoods up- I try to do this when photographing my light blonde little niece.
    Hope that helps! :)
    Patti
     
  3. kellylindseyphotography

    kellylindseyphotography TPF Noob!

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    Hi Patti
    That does help, some. I plan to stay in the shade as much as allowable. Believe it or not, that picture of him above was taken on a cloudy day..

    Is there anything you (or anyone) can recommend for post processing also?
     
  4. PattiS

    PattiS TPF Noob!

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    Hi Kelly,
    I find that even on cloudy days the light is often still very directional!
    As far as post processing, if your concern is how to bring back blow outs, that is not possible because all of the detail has already been lost. But if you underexpose slightly to keep hair blow outs to a minimum while photographing, some brightness can certainly be brought back to the rest of the image in post processing. :)
    Patti
     
  5. Jedo_03

    Jedo_03 TPF Noob!

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    Kelly - nice composition and I love the serious look on the little feller's face...
    Looking at your image overall - it's overexposed not just on his hair but also on the grass and on his right shoulder.
    I'd suggest you try different exposure values:
    Bear in mind the "sunny 16 rule" - in bright sunlight shoot f16 at the reciprocal of the iso you are using. eg at iso 100 go shutter speed 125:
    Here's a little conversion table for different weather conditions that you can try. Rem if your iso is 100 keep with a shutter speed of 125. Judging by the roundness and darkness of the shadows, looks like f11 would have been close.
    Cheers

    Jedo
    1. Set the shutter speed to the setting nearest to the ISO film speed
    2. Set the f-number according to the table below:
    Aperture Sunny Distinct Shadows [FONT=Georgia,serif]f/[/FONT]16 Slight overcast Soft Shadows with round edges [FONT=Georgia,serif]f/[/FONT]11 Overcast Barely visible Shadows [FONT=Georgia,serif]f/[/FONT]8 Heavy Overcast No Shadows [FONT=Georgia,serif]f/[/FONT]5.6 Sunset[FONT=Georgia,serif]f/[/FONT]4



     
  6. TCimages

    TCimages TPF Noob!

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    I recommend spot metering. This will help meter your subject properly and not use the background to determine the exposure.
     
  7. JerryPH

    JerryPH No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Spot meter on the hair, increase DOF so that the eyes are tack sharp... adjust what needs to be done in post.

    Walk in the park!
     
  8. kellylindseyphotography

    kellylindseyphotography TPF Noob!

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    But if I spot meter on the hair, won't his face come out overexposed?

    (thanks for the suggestions so far!)
     
  9. Peanuts

    Peanuts TPF Noob!

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    Actually if you spot meter on his hair his face will be underexposed - but anyways, bring a grey card and meter off of that. Try exposing for the light using the values you find there. If your camera is blinking at you because he hair is overexposed, then back off a bit with the exposure. The entire image exposure doesn't need to rely on his hair :)
     
  10. kellylindseyphotography

    kellylindseyphotography TPF Noob!

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    Sorry, underexposed.. am I just way overthinking it? :D I'll remember the sunny 16 rule as well as try spot metering and bring a gray card w/me.. hopefully I can find the sweet spot!
     
  11. tennis-joe

    tennis-joe TPF Noob!

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    Shooting children is always a quick take the shot before they move especially that small. They will in the future want to see what the hair was like when they had some. Beautiful child for sure!
     
  12. Tiberius47

    Tiberius47 TPF Noob!

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    Try exposing for the hair and using a flash to bring up the light levels on his face.
     

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