Help shooting white clothing

It's all in the metering. If you just meter the whole scene...the camera will include the background and give you an average...which will most likely blow out any white clothing.

On the other hand, if you just meter for the white clothing, then the camera will think it's a bright scene and give you settings that will underexpose.

If you don't have a light meter or a grey card, I would suggest that you take a reading off of your subject's faces. Put the camera into manual mode, get in close (maybe use spot metering as well) and adjust the settings to centre the 'needle' in the viewfinder. Depending on the tone of their skin, you may want to adjust it so that the needle is off of zero. For lighter skin, adjust it positive.

Then you can back up and shoot the whole scene...keeping the camera in manual. You may have to tweak it a bit but that's the idea.

If you are still blowing out the white clothing then adjust your exposure down until you are not blowing out the whites. Ideally, you probably want it so that the white clothes are just a notch below being blown out.
If you have a gray card (Kodak 18% Gray) set your exposure manually and go from there. Take a test shot and look at your histogram and see if you are clipping your highlights.
If you don't have a gray card...and you're caucasian(looks like you are in the picture) can meter off of the palm of your hand.
If it's not extremely formal, I'd just Chimp it (take a shot, look at the screen, adjust, take another shot, repeat). Like Mike said, exposure is going to be what you want here. Shooting in manual is going to be paramount in getting a good shot here. I honestly can't think of the last time I didn't shoot in manual...I'm a control freak.
If you don't have a gray card...and you're caucasian(looks like you are in the picture) can meter off of the palm of your hand.
Don't forget to add one stop of light from what you get. :er:

Actually, most people's palms are about the same...caucasian or not.
Another tip is that green foliage (grass for example) is often the same tone as middle grey (a grey card). So if you see some grass that is nice and green and it's in the same light as your subject, you can use that to take a meter reading and set your exposure.

Once you get the hang of it, you can meter off of just about anything. It's just a matter of knowing how much to adjust away from zero for what you are metering. You could try metering off of the white clothing and adding about two stops...etc.

All that being said, I usually just watch my histogram and Expose to the Right.

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