View Full Version : Importance of Nailing Exposure in Sports Photograhy
5th of September 2006 (Tue), 14:35
Obviously, correct exposure is important for any subjects, but very challenging with the changing conditions often encountered at the field. Gmen has often stated that a hand held meter is a vital piece of his kit. I'm wondering-----Is the exposure meter in the camera that ineffective, or does a hand held provide additional capability the camera can't?
Also, if you are off a stop in exposure (for example) but shoot in RAW, will subsequent adjustment in RAW compensate for the variance of the original capture, or is there inherant loss that can't be recovered?
Finally, if I can squeeze in one last question for any that use PS Elements 4.......when you folks open a RAW image, do you deselect the auto adjustments for brightness, sharpness, etc, and just work with WB and Exposure if needed, or do you keep the auto adjustments and just tweak as required? (I know this is a post processing question, but it relates to the general topic---and I would like to get input from the sports togs)
Thanks for any insight,
PS--I'd ask Gavin directly, but I feel like I need to give him a break.
5th of September 2006 (Tue), 14:47
The problem with the in-camera meter is simply the age-old issue of subject brightness fooling the meter, vs. using an incident meter which measures inherent brightness of the lighting. Lots of guys in white jerseys give you a brighter subject reflectance than lots guys in muddy white jerseys. So if you go to batch process your images, with reflected light readings every image you take ends up needing custom adjustment to brightness.
With incident, all the shots made from that same setting all have the same adjustment, so batch processing becomes more feasible and easier to do. And shooting a bunch of guys in black jerseys is exactly the same exposure as shooting the other bunch of guys in clean white jerseys.
Yes RAW will let you adjust better than JPG, but each image is still a custom adjustment , if you rely on exposure automation to change f/stop or shutter speed constantly. Without an incident meter, it would be better to set the camera on M and use the in-camera meter for the reading, so that at least everything is consistent even if it is off!
5th of September 2006 (Tue), 15:57
You can gain about a stop in RAW processign without losing too much from the image. Always try to get the exposure right, but shooting RAW does give you that flexability to tweak the exposure without losing too much from the image.
You can get away without using the handheld meter by taking a reading off the grass and tweaking the manual settings to get a good exposure. The inbuilt meter in the camera is pretty accurate, the problem occurs when for example there is a bias in the picture i.e. the player you are taking a picture of is in a white shirt, this can fool the meter and cause an incorrect exposure.
I have a lightmeter now, but tend to take the meter readings through the camera off the grass and adjust after looking at the histogram. When using a lightmeter you have to be carefull how you use it, you get the angle correct. You will get better exposure reading from a light meter, but you need to know how to use it correctly in the first case. Equally a light meter won't always help if the light is continually changing i.e. clouds 1 minute, sunshine the next, shade on the pitch etc.
5th of September 2006 (Tue), 19:27
I need a pointer to an idiots guide on reading histograms cus right now I know squat :( But it's my next step and now a need to know.
5th of September 2006 (Tue), 22:17
Thanks for the replies. It takes nerve to ask this because I am afraid the answer is so basic, but how does adjusting exposure to the grass play out when shooting the player? Wouldn't the camera be pointed slightly down, but tend to overexpose from that reading as it is raised? What is it about the grass that is more accurate than a spot reading on a body?
6th of September 2006 (Wed), 00:00
...but how does adjusting exposure to the grass play out when shooting the player? Wouldn't the camera be pointed slightly down, but tend to overexpose from that reading as it is raised? What is it about the grass that is more accurate than a spot reading on a body?
You take a meter reading while pointing the camera at the grass (reading grass is similar to reading an 18% gray card!). You set that into your camera settings while using Manual mode. Then it does not matter that your camera is no longer aimed at the grass! Skin color, on the other hand is often NOT the same brightness as 18% gray card.
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