Washed Out Picture Remedies

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by Nefertari, Mar 7, 2007.

  1. Nefertari

    Nefertari TPF Noob!

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    Hi, let me say first that I'm glad I found this forum as I buy the magazine every now and then and find it very helpful, and second...thanks to anyone who helps me with this major problem.

    I shoot traditional film, I'd like to move to digital if I could afford it (but only for previews I guess), currently I am stuck with high development prices, no preview and a Chinon CE-5 slr.
    Now I like the camera, it has everything I need...maybe the shutter speeds could be greater in number. But it has everything.
    Now I'm currently trying to put together a portfolio for the London College of Fashion and I want to put some photography in it, especially seen as though I am applying for Fashion Photography aswell as Tailoring (I like them both!)
    My problem is this. My girlfriend took me to this deserted, run down barn near her last weekend. It was a sunny day, around the evening, so the light was pretty contrasty still....the inside of the barn was moderately lit. I set her up against the window and metered for her face. The result was Iso 200 (Fuji Superia) 1/60 at F 1.6 (or 1.4 can't remember) on a standard chinon 50mm lens with a circular polariser, mounted on a tripod. This was the result....
    [​IMG]
    Now you can see monumental errors here. I realise my main problem was that the light from the window was to bright causing the inside of the room to underexpose...so am I correct in saying that to remedy the situation would require either sufficient interior lighting or a fill flash?
    I can't afford a digital camera so I most definately cant afford the lights...so the next best thing is a flash. My question is this....My camera is old, it doesn't support ttl flash metering and only supports two dedicated flashes, i think, which are rubbish. These are the type of flash that lock you into a predetermined aperture with a sync speed of 1/60. I checked the back of the flash unit (Chinon auto s-280) and if I wanted to expose properly at 1.6 I would of had to shoot a 25 iso film from 30ft away!!! thats ridiculous!
    So how do I remedy this situation? My camera doesnt support a decent enough flash unit, I don't have the time to work out calculations for a rubbish manual flash with limited aperture leeway....and I cant afford studio lighting no matter how cheap.

    Another problem is, that if the answer involves a flash unit, how would I determine the intensity of the fill flash without ttl? So that I wouldn't was the shadow detail out?
    I hope all this makes sense, I spent 15 quid developing 34 shots with one pic coming out...I really can't afford to make these types of mistakes again.
    Thanks in advance.
     
  2. Big Mike

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

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    Hello and welcome to the forum.

    This is a tricky situation at best. You know this, so you metered off the face...that's good. The meter will give you exposure for 18% grey, so if you meter off of skin like hers...you should probably open up one stop from the meter reading...that would have helped here.

    Even still, the contrast is still very high. Fill flash would have helped to light her up. A more rudimentary solution would have been to use a reflector. There was certainly lots of light coming from behind her...all you would need is something to reflect the light back toward her face.

    Digital is nice, in that you can preview your image to get an idea of what is captured. With film and a situation like this...I would probably bracket quite a bit. Take a shot at the metered value, then go up by a stop, then two stops. Then below the meter by one then two stops. Maybe do it in half stop increments.

    Anyway, welcome to the forum.
     
  3. Sw1tchFX

    Sw1tchFX TPF Noob!

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    Use reflectors. If you don't want to buy real ones, just find a big piece of cardboard (5'x5' minimum) and cover the whole thing in tin foil. Put that in front of her and it will reflect that light coming in from the windows back on to her and hopefully giving you enough exposure latitude to burn the windows and bring detail back into them.
     
  4. EOS_JD

    EOS_JD TPF Noob!

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    Sw1tch beat me to that :) Get a white card (you don't need tinfoil if you don't have it) to bounce the light from the window into your subject. White will provide a softer light than using the tinfoil.
     
  5. Sw1tchFX

    Sw1tchFX TPF Noob!

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    What JD is talking about is a fill card. Office Depot posterboards work perfect for that.
     
  6. Nefertari

    Nefertari TPF Noob!

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    Unfortunately I tried a makeshift reflector...I'm not sure what the difference in reflectiveity is between my one and a real reflector...but mine didn't seem to make a difference, also from the position I was shooting...When I tried to reflect the light...I ended up infront of the camera.

    The thing is I understand how to manipulate light to a mechanical degree, (years of 3ds Max usage and mental ray training at degree level) but this, while I understand what's going on, I can't fix...if it was 3ds max...I would just add a light behind the camera to fill in the darkness...but as I can't financially do that...I'm kinda stuck.

    I did bracket for the first few shots and they came out pretty much the same. The shot you see is actually number 20 with the bracketed shots being 9-11 in 1/3's + and -.

    Also I forgot to mention...it was just me and her...so i guess a reflector is pretty useless??

    Thanks for all your replies!!!
     
  7. hazzayoungn

    hazzayoungn TPF Noob!

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    i read about this technique somewhere else (and im unable to find the link again), and im not sure itll be as easy if you have a subject thats more prone to moving, and its probably only applicable if you were to do this exact shot again...

    but if you were to try this shot over again, have her sit impeccably still, then meter the windows behind her. remember the shutter speed. then while the camera is on the tripod and shes in place, put boards in front of the windows to block any incoming light. then meter her face and compensate. shoot the picture with her in the frame. then change the shutter speed back to what the windows need, and double expose the shot while shes still in the frame

    but like i said, this is probably difficult since theres a high chance of her moving. its a starting point i guess
     
  8. EOS_JD

    EOS_JD TPF Noob!

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    Thanks Sw1tch :)
    I'm in the UK so didn't know where you'd get it. You can use foam board (foamcore) that is used in packaging too.
     
  9. EOS_JD

    EOS_JD TPF Noob!

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    The trick with the reflector is to work with the angles. You could have used tape or something to hold the reflector in place at the right angle. Plenty of light there so I'm sure it could be placed better. Below left or right could work or possibly directly below the camera.
     
  10. PetersCreek

    PetersCreek TPF Noob!

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    For the shoestring budget, you could also try hanging a nice, bright white bedsheet out of frame.
     
  11. Nefertari

    Nefertari TPF Noob!

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    Unfortunately guys, there's no way I could use a reflector at all. Being the only person there except for my girlfriend and being in the niddle of the room essentially...there's nowhere to mount the thing or tape it. I really think a flash/light is my only solution but therin lies more problems!

    I could double expose as has been mentioned...but it would seriously hamper the speed and feel of the shoot. It would take around a minute or two per shot which just isn't practical for a shoot like this...also, it's more prone to difficulties considering film slr's have no preview, so there' even more chance I'll be shelling out ridiculous amounts of money for a crap roll of negatives
     
  12. Digital Matt

    Digital Matt alter ego: Analog Matt

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    You can always use a reflector. You don't need someone to hold it. Buy a real reflector, a cheap light stand, and an arm to mount the reflector.
     

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