We've been having a really, really long summer in Michigan. Lots of humidity, lots of warm temperatures and lots of sun. Last weekend, I shot for seven hours outdoors over the course of Saturday and Sunday. And while it took several bottles of water to keep me cool, keeping the strong highlights out of my photographs was a bit easier. By utilizing the sunny 16 rule, you can get great photographs because getting the right exposure is easy with the hot sun beating down on you. What's the sunny 16 rule? While using an incident light meter … [Read more...] about How to get perfect exposures on a sunny day
Whether you use it in-camera or in your post-processing software, you ultimately will come across a set of mountains that help to describe the pixel distribution by the brightness of your image. This mountainous graphic is known as a histogram. What the "mountains" mean Histograms in Lightroom and Adobe's Camera Raw are broken up into five main sections — blacks, shadows, exposure, highlights, and whites. Some cameras and image editing programs divide it a little differently — shadows, mid-tones, and highlights, or blacks, quarter tones, … [Read more...] about Photography 101: How to read and understand a histogram
One question I'm asked a lot is "Where does all the noise come from when my camera is set to ISO 100?" The answer is simple. The photograph is underexposed. What is ISO? Grain vs. noise Back in the film days, the ISO (or ASA as it was called then) setting was the sensitivity of the film in the camera. While grain existed in every image, high ISO numbers produced more grain because the film had to have bigger chunks of light gathering chemistry. Today, the same idea applies. ISO in digital cameras refers to the light sensitivity of the … [Read more...] about Photography 101: How does noise happen at a low ISO?
Fireworks and the Fourth of July go together like hot dogs and apple pie. Thing is getting the exposure right for fireworks is anything but simple as pie. Here's an easy way to make sure your settings are perfect. Buy some sparklers Give them to your kids Make photos of the lit sparklers After the fun, review the photos to see which setting give the best detail in the brightest parts of the photo. More fast and easy tips for photographing fireworks. … [Read more...] about Quick Tip: Use Sparklers to Get Exposures Right for Fireworks
Have a series of photographs that have different exposure settings? While synchronizing your develop settings from picture to picture brings over all the adjustments you've made, it doesn't take into account different exposure settings you used while capturing the image. The solution? Once you're done editing one of your photos, select all of them in that set and go up to Settings > Match Total Exposures. You'll now see that all the photos have the same exposure settings, matching perfectly. … [Read more...] about Quick Tip: Match Exposures in Lightroom Classic
Note: If the video doesn’t show up at first, please reload the page. How do I fix an image that's too dark? from Lightroom: Tips and Quick Fixes by Richard Harrington How do I fix an image that's too dark? Sometimes when I shoot, I tend to underexpose just a little bit. This is a safety thing, so I avoid overblowing details or getting areas that lack any information whatsoever, but an underexposed image can look a bit muddy. Let me show you. Let's click on the next photo here, and if you look at the histogram, you can see that it's really … [Read more...] about How do I fix an image that’s too dark in Lightroom?
Note: If the video doesn’t show up at first, please reload the page. How do I fix an image that's too bright? from Lightroom: Tips and Quick Fixes by Richard Harrington How do I fix an image that's too bright? Exposure problems are one of the first things I tend to fix in an image. That's because exposure affects everything else. Darken an image, and the colors get more rich. Lighten the image, and they tend to wash out. Let's tackle some common exposure problems. Let's switch the exposure problems group. And make sure that you're viewing … [Read more...] about How do I fix an image that’s too bright in Lightroom?
This is article #16 in the DSLR Video Weekly series. If you'd like the whole thing in one shot, check out the book Creating DSLR Video: From Snapshots to Great Shots. Once you get the hang of video, be sure to monetize it by becoming a contributor to Adobe Stock. When you start to get serious about shooting great-looking video on your DSLR, you’ll likely begin to disable several of the automatic features on your camera. Additionally, you’ll likely be attracted to the more artistic capabilities, like a wider range of contrast and … [Read more...] about DSLR Video Weekly: Exposure and Focus
It's last minute getting ready for the eclipse, have you listened to any experts for advice? Well, I found myself in the middle of a great conversation, and I want to pass it on so as many photographers as possible can benefit. Expert Astrophotographer Jean-Marc Lecleire answered questions from a Photomatix customer interested in using bracketing and HDR to capture the subtle details which will be lost by most eclipse photographers. Our friends at HDRsoft condensed this discussion down for us all … [Read more...] about Full Eclipse in HDR – Expert Advice
I just got back from an amazing trip to Ireland! We went everywhere from the Ring of Kerry to the Cliffs of Moher, capturing the beautiful landscapes. Along with foggy, grey skies. I'm used to crazy Michigan weather, but Ireland seems to not want to make up its mind on the weather! But I couldn't let that hold me back. Don't Forget to Bracket If there was one thing I learned during the trip, it was the importance of bracketing. At the Cliffs of Moher, we had foggy, grey skies to deal with, but I was determined to capture an iconic … [Read more...] about Bringing Back the Depth of Grey Skies
I just received a pre-production Illuminati incident light meter that uses bluetooth to connect to a smart phone. I am really excited to use it on a job... Why use an incident lightmeter? The answer is really simple. The meters in our cameras are kinda crippled. Want to see what I mean? Go find a white wall. Fill the viewfinder of your camera or camera app on your phone with the white wall then take a photo. Is it white? Nope. It's gray. 12.5% gray. Here's a screenshot of my iPhone of white wall I shot with it at the Las Vegas Convention … [Read more...] about The Smartphone Lightmeter on the Job
Mirrorless cameras' greatest advantage is the fact that there is no separation between what the sensor records and what you see in the viewfinder. Seeing exactly what your picture will look like before you even press the shutter button is an incredibly powerful way to shoot. Personally, I now shoot far fewer pictures because I know that I've already nailed the exposure. When I look in the viewfinder, I see the world like a photograph. DSLR's require you to focus a lot of brain power on your camera's light meter. The skill to interpret what … [Read more...] about Mirrorless Camera Guru: How To See The World Like A Photograph
You know how it is: you've got a great looking subject in front of you and you're nervous to miss a shot so you start shooting and shooting and clicking and clicking and you capture the great expressions. But, when you review your images, you realize that you didn't capture the great exposure. Don't Catch the Expression and Miss the Picture This is especially common when photographers are new at working with flash or speedlights. You've got to slow down a second and verify that you've got the right exposure and depth of field, etc., then you … [Read more...] about Portrait Tip: Double Check, Let Her Rip
Let’s think technical for a moment. A properly exposed image is created by mixing three key elements, known as the Exposure Triangle—Aperture, Shutter Speed and ISO—to produce the right amount of lightness and darkness for a photograph. There are almost endless combinations that can be used to achieve an equivalent exposure. Leaving your camera in full auto mode will usually guarantee a perfect exposure, but not necessarily a perfect image. To be creative, a photographer decides how much of each element’s value to use based on the element’s … [Read more...] about Understanding Equivalent Exposure Pay attention – there’s a Quiz
A Look Inside Ansel Adams’ Darkroom Magic https://youtu.be/IoCtni-WWVs It’s hard to imagine a world without Photoshop or Lightroom. But there was a time. Instead of a computer mouse, iconic photographer Ansel Adams used a microwave and cardboard cut-outs to create his masterpieces. We kid you not. In “Advancing Your Photography Show’s” latest video, "An Inside Look into Ansel Adams' Darkroom Magic," Ansel's son Michael, gives us a tour of his father’s darkroom. At times the darkroom looks and feels more like an experimental science lab. … [Read more...] about A Look Inside Ansel Adams’ Darkroom Magic
Correct exposure for video capture is complicated by several factors. Even if you’ve mastered it for stills workflows, additional limitations make video capture more difficult. As a photographer, you’re can take advantage of shooting in different program modes for unique situations. Perhaps you enjoy the ease of aperture priority. When shooting video, you will generally achieve best results by switching all controls over to manual. Your basic tools for exposure control are ISO and aperture. Unfortunately, with video you’ll lose the shutter … [Read more...] about How to Expose a Video Shot
Our eyes have a fixed refresh rate of about 1/30th of a second. Modern cameras today have shutter speeds that range from 30 seconds to 1/8000th of a second. The shutter is the third component of a photographic exposure. It controls the amount of time the sensor receives light. Creatively, the shutter can freeze a moving object or let it blur. The longer the shutter is open, the more movement will show. A faster shutter speeds can stop action. Shutter speed & the amount of light In previous posts, I've explained that an f/stop is a measure … [Read more...] about Photography’s Basics: Shutter Speed
A previous post on Photography's Basics: Shutter Speed, I promised a post on using long shutter speeds to make abstractions. When the world blurs together on a memory card or film magic happens. Thing we see in real life are reimagined when the shutter is open for a long time. Light streaks. Motion blurs. Water becomes glistening snowflakes or diamonds. Stretching time One of my absolute favorite things to play with in photography is a moving camera with an open shutter and colorful lights. This all started when I was shooting film. I would … [Read more...] about Long Exposures for Abstract Art
The X-Rite ColorChecker is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year. It was originally created to help photographers get consistent results in color balance and exposure from one film emulsion lot to another. Today, the ColorChecker has become the photographic industry standard for obtaining accurate color and perfect exposures too. I'm presenting The Beginner Photographer's Secret Weapon: Why + How the Pros use ColorCheckers as a free webinar Wednesday, May 11, 2016 at !2:00pm Eastern Daylight Savings Time. Register for this free webinar … [Read more...] about Free ColorChecker Webinar with PF Author Kevin Ames
What is exposure anyway? A colleague of mine says it is the amount of light required to record an image. She's absolutely right of course. Her answer made me thing about the quality of my question. I believe that the question to ask is "What is a correct exposure?" That answer is much more useful. A correct exposure reveals the true tone of the subject. Makes sense. Getting there is a different story. How did I find the exposure for the photo above? Read on... How much light is correct? There can be only one exposure that reveals the true tone … [Read more...] about Photography’s Basics: Exposure
At the Paralympic Games in Atlanta in 1996, digital capture was on the horizon. It wasn't ready for prime time. The photograph above is of the Canadian Tandem Cycling Team. The athlete on the right steers while her blind teammate adds power. They are multiple gold medal winners. I made their portrait on Kodak Tri-X film ISO: 400. This post is part of a series on photography's basics on the three components of exposure: Shutter Speed, Aperture and ISO. Before a discussion of any of these three pillars of exposure happens, a question has to be … [Read more...] about Photography’s Basics: ISO
How'd you like more than 750 pages of photo education and inspiration for less than $5? Our eBooks are on sale for just 99 in the United States. We've asked iTunes to price equivalently around the globe. Available for iBooks The sale runs until February 28, 2015. The collection contains text, photos, video, audio, and interactive content. The Basic Beginners Guide to Photography Light & Exposure Secrets of HDR 72 Essays on Photography Develop Great Images in Lightroom Get Organized in Lightroom (Get it FREE) NOTE: These books … [Read more...] about All Our eBooks on Sale Until February 14, 2016
Aesthetic is defined as being concerned with or the appreciation of beauty. It also suggests a style or underlying principles that guide an artist or an artistic movement. Judging photographs, particularly our own photographs is a minefield fraught with danger. Rating someone elses work can hurt their feelings to the point of damaging a friendship. Ranking our own work involves dealing with the emotions we feel as we relive and remember the events along with all of the work work it took to create the shoot. We recall the magical moments or the … [Read more...] about Aesthetic Judgements: Lighting & Exposure
The internal meter in your camera is always trying to balance your settings to create what it thinks is a proper exposure. In the "mind" of the camera meter, it thinks that everything is balanced if it is gray. For most subjects, such as light skintone and green grass, the meter is usually going to create an accurate exposure. But what happens when you are photographing something very dark? That's when you need to intervene. If you have your camera set to aperture priority, then the camera is choosing the shutter speed based on what setting … [Read more...] about Underexposing Dark Scenes for Proper Exposure
The previous Exposure Tactics post, explored understanding the difference between how Lightroom, Photoshop, and light meters measure exposure. Now we continue to look at working with the files in postproduction. Exposure Tweaks in Lightroom & Camera Raw Calibrated computer monitors are great for displaying color and brightness. Unfortunately, the human visual system just can't tell if a photograph is properly exposed by looking at it. The screen capture below looks great. The histogram shows detail in both highlights and shadows with zero … [Read more...] about Exposure Tactics • Refining Exposure
This Exposure Tactics post explains what a "technically proper" exposure is and how to get there. Remember I said technically proper, not creatively right. The sensors in our cameras don't necessarily match the sensitivity of our light meter. Sad and true. This can make it difficult to judge exposure and get things right. One meter from Sekonic, the L-758DR can be calibrated by shooting test targets to match it to the exposure characteristics and dynamic range of up to three different cameras. Most other meters can be adjusted to compensate … [Read more...] about Exposure Tactics • Mastering Exposure
Editors Note: The following is an excerpt from a new book called the Photofocus Guide: Develop Great Images in Lightroom. This book is almost done and well be giving away free copies soon to all our readers thanks to Mosaic. Be sure to check out the Lightroom Learning Center. There is a direct connection between the histogram and the tonal adjustments in the Basic panel. If you hover your cursor over the left end of the histogram you will see the word Blacks appear under the histogram and the Blacks slider lights up in the Basic … [Read more...] about Fixing Shadows and Highlights with Lightroom
What comes after using an incident meter to set the exposure? Setting a neutral color balance then refining the exposure, both in post production. I always refine the exposure after neutralizing the color. Before going into the steps for either one, here's some background on digital captures, especially RAW files. (You are shooting RAW aren't you?) RAW captures have a huge amount of information in them. Half of that info is in the brightest f/stop of exposure as shown in the graphic below. There are 8192 tones in that first stop compared to 256 … [Read more...] about Exposure Tactics • Color Control
Your camera offers a lot of settings to make shooting easier. While I'm personally a fan of Aperture priority mode (where you set the depth of field and let the camera do the most of the rest) I also find Shutter Priority (or Time Value) Mode quite useful. In this shooting mode, you tell the camera how long to leave the shutter open. It will then determine the Aperture and ISO sensitivity. This is all part of shooting with the exposure triangle if you need a refresher. Here's a simple example with a spinning industrial fan. This photo is … [Read more...] about Why Shoot in Shutter Priority or Time Value Mode?
Exposure can be really confusing. It's particularly so with modern digital cameras. Why? The type of light meters built into cameras is a big reason. Those meters are reflective meters. They measure the amount of light bouncing off of a subject. A reflective meter's exposure makes what ever it sees 12.5% gray. Always. Here's an easy experiment that shows how they work. Take a white card and a black card outside on a sunny day. Put your camera on P (for Professional--er, no, that's actually Program mode.) Set the camera on the spot metering. … [Read more...] about Exposure Tactics–Reflective Metering