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FORUMS Photography Talk by Genre Critique Corner
Thread started 21 Apr 2017 (Friday) 11:01
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High School Musicians on Stage

 
tspencer1
Member
Joined Oct 2015
Apr 21, 2017 11:01 |  #1

I am looking for advice on how to improve shots like these. The problem is dark clothes against a large white back-drop.

The exif on the dark one is:
Canon 70D
No flash
1/125
f8
ISO 8000

"Better one":
Canon 70D
1/125
f8
ISO 400

If I recall, both were evaluative metering. Partial metering better?

For some reason, I have trouble nailing these shots, esp. w/flash.

Thanks all!

Tim

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Micro5797
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Joined Dec 2013
Montana
Post has been last edited 6 months ago by Micro5797. 6 edits done in total.
Apr 21, 2017 11:36 |  #2

In theory, with the people wearing black and the background being white. The meter should have been fairly accurate as blending the scene would be close to middle grey.
Please read on and see why it isn't a good idea to use AV in this situation.

The better way to shoot this would be to use AV for a starting point for your settings, or simply go into manual mode and watch your in camera meter through the view finder.
Take a shot and adjust your shutter speed and ISO until you get the proper exposure on your lcd. Jared Polan, Fro knows photos on Youtube has videos on how to get the shot in three shots using manual mode.

Especially in this scene the reason that AV is not a good idea in any meter mode is that if as you are moving around, you get a little bit more of the background in the frame, the camera will underexpose by a little bit. Then you re-frame and get a little more of them in frame and the camera over exposes the scene.

The white background vs the black clothing should look great as it would give separation between them and the background. If they were in front of a black background, they would blend in and all that you would see would be their faces with very little detail in the clothing, partially due to them being right on the background.

The best way to shoot this, there would be a few factors to consider.
#1. try to move them at least a few feet off of the background to give separation.
#2. Use a step ladder and get a little bit higher. This helps to put both rows on the same plane to your camera, allowing for the ability to use a shallower DOF, allowing the opening up to 1 more stop of aperture and lowering the ISO if need be. 400 ISO is just fine and with how wide the group is, you still need to keep the outer people in focus as they are further from the camera then the people in the center back row. This also allows more of the person in the back row to be seen, as well as lifting their heads up.
#3. As $ and knowledge permits. Have 1-2 speedlights (or portable strobes) in softboxes is the real solution.
You would then set your camera for the ambient light in the room (back drop) and adjust your flash to give the fill light that is needed to expose them properly.

I would say the second image is better because the overhead lighting in the first image is giving them racoon eyes. You will have to remove the red eye and the image looks kind of flashed in the second, but at least you have good even exposure on their faces. Red eye and glare from their glasses would be removed or at least minimized by getting the flash off axis from the camera.

I hope that you found this information useful.

EDIT: Here is the link to getting the proper exposure in manual mode.
https://www.youtube.co​m/watch?v=vDI8bdMHYl0 (external link)


_______________
Canon 70D | 70-200mm f2.8 MK1 | 85mm f1.8 | 50mm f1.8 | Tamron 17-50mm f2.8 non vc| Nissin Di866 II

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tspencer1
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Member
Joined Oct 2015
Apr 21, 2017 12:08 as a reply to Micro5797's post |  #3

Micro:

Fantastic info and pointers - thank you! And thanks for the youtube link.

Re: strobes and softbox - a speedlite and softbox are my next purchases - I am reminded of the need for these time and again by my photos - thanks.

A couple of follow-up questions;

When shooting in manual, does it even matter which metering is used - evaluative, partial, etc? Or does the camera still use this setting to determine "correct" exposure?

I will be doing a similar shot tomorrow, and have only the tiny on-camera flash. I have had difficulty nailing shots on a 70D on-camera flash for some reason. Any specifics on that?

Many thanks!




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Micro5797
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Joined Dec 2013
Montana
Apr 21, 2017 12:28 |  #4

tspencer1 wrote in post #18334005 (external link)
Micro:

A couple of follow-up questions;

When shooting in manual, does it even matter which metering is used - evaluative, partial, etc? Or does the camera still use this setting to determine "correct" exposure?

I will be doing a similar shot tomorrow, and have only the tiny on-camera flash. I have had difficulty nailing shots on a 70D on-camera flash for some reason. Any specifics on that?

Many thanks!


The meter does two things that i know of in manual mode.
#1. It doesn't change the exposure at all, it only gives you a reference in the view finder via the meter for what it thinks proper exposure is.
#2. It does work with your cameras TTL for the flash. Be it the pop up flash or a speedlight connected to your hot shoe.

For tomorrow,you may want to use partial meter, then use your flash exposure compensation to adjust it from there. keeping your camera settings the same and only adjusting the flash compensation to get proper exposure on the people. I would expect that you may have to compensate up or down by around 2/3 to a high of 1 1/3 of a stop. This is just a guess and depends on your current settings and the scene.

If you do get a speedlight, you can always use it on camera straight forward and it will be a lot better then the pop up flash (add stofen diffuser, rogue flash bender etc). But keep in mind that you can shoot it up into a ceiling or even behind you into a reflector or white wall, to make a larger more filling light source. If you can't afford Canon speedlights, i like the Yongnuo brand and they are very affordable in comparison.

Here is a link on how to use it: http://www.dummies.com ...ation-on-a-canon-eos-70d/ (external link)


_______________
Canon 70D | 70-200mm f2.8 MK1 | 85mm f1.8 | 50mm f1.8 | Tamron 17-50mm f2.8 non vc| Nissin Di866 II

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tspencer1
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Apr 21, 2017 12:47 as a reply to Micro5797's post |  #5

Thank you - greatly appreciate!




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wallstreetoneil
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Toronto Canada
Post has been last edited 6 months ago by wallstreetoneil. 2 edits done in total.
Apr 21, 2017 13:01 |  #6

Lets take a look at the setting from the non-flashed picture that the camera came up with (and lets ignore for a moment the crazy lighting differential from Camera left to Camera right).

1/125, F8, ISO 8000

Lets look at the couple in the middle of the scene (black guy and I think asian girl in front). This paring are basically in the middle of the two lighting extremes (bright Left & dark Right). Looking at these two they are almost correctly exposed (I say almost because the overhead light is causing chaos).

Since you are shooting a crop sensor, your DoF, by definition is wider (this is good). I don't know your FL - but let's guess 20mm and your distance to subject is 15 feet. If you plug these numbers into a DoF calculator then everything from 5.5ft to infinity is in focus - i.e. it was highly, highly, highly unnecessary to shoot at F8 and to need ISO 8000 to do so. With a wider angle and crop sensor, F4 is plenty enough DoF to get only two rows of subjects in focus.

Thus, 1/125, F8, ISO 8000 can be changed to 1/125, F4, ISO 2000 and still have a huge DoF - you could honestly at that shooting distance, and that FL also easily use F2.8 and still easily have everyone in focus - thus you could also shoot 1/125, F2.8, ISO 1000 for proper exposure.


Lets move on to the 2nd step - the lighting you are facing is brutal - i.e. the people camera left, even at proper average exposure, have their foreheads blown out from the above light - and that is why the camera, when it dumped ISO to 4 1/3rd stops below what non flash average proper exposure was it prevented the overhead lights from nuking the people on the left - and then just lit the scene with the flash - ie. better but not perfect.

Besides listening to the good comments above about moving the people away from the background, and other things mentioned, my suggestion for this scenario (assuming you can't bring in off camera flashes is the following:

1) Try and position the entire group in similar lighting - i.e. in this case, create a 3rd row of the tallest guys and move everyone into the non bright area (or good lighting if possible)
2) if after all of this, there are a few people in much brighter light, then meter on these people and choose an exposure of 1/2 stop under as your Ambient exposure to hard dial into the Camera in Manual Mode.
3) Set your flash to ETTL and take a few pictures - using FEC -1ev, 0EV, +1 EV - and pick the best one

In the exposure data I was using above, (1/125, F2.8, iso 1000), my guess is that the guys on the left (brightest part) are 1 full stop brighter - so that brings us to (1/125, F2.8, iso 500). This base exposure is 3 1/3rd stops brighter than your camera used in Automatic mode so the flash wouldn't have to work as hard - and by then taking 3 quick exposures using FEC (-1,0+1), or better yet, after the first exposure, making a better adjustment that then taking a few pictures with FEC around this better guess is the right thing to do.


So, in review:
- do a quick review, before you do this again, using a DoF calculator to give you an idea of your DoF given the FL you are likely to be shooting
- set up the group better if possible
- do a quick exposure check of the brightest lit person, snap a picture, and adjust the exposure, in Manual Mode, to peg the base exposure to not overexpose this person (pick an exposure level 2/3rds to one stop under this person)
- set FEC to -1 and take your first picture (look at it and then make a quick decision do I need more or less)


Obviously with time and an assistant, you would have two very large umbrellas with powerful flashes 12 feet in the air on either side of you and it would be easy - but that doesn't mean you can't get 80% of the way there with an on camera flash and a good base exposure.


Hockey and wedding photographer. Favourite camera / lens combos: a 1DX II with a Tamron 45 1.8 VC, an A7Rii with a Canon 24-70F2.8L II, and a 5DSR with a Tamron 85 1.8 VC. Every lens I own I strongly recommend [Canon (35Lii, 100L Macro, 24-70F2.8ii, 70-200F2.8ii, 100-400Lii), Tamron (45 1.8, 85 1.8), Sigma 24-105]. If there are better lenses out there let me know because I haven't found them.

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tspencer1
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Apr 21, 2017 13:21 as a reply to wallstreetoneil's post |  #7

Wallstreet - THANK YOU. Very helpful. You guessed 20 as the FL of the first one - I looked - it was 21. Nice guess.

Thanks again,

Tim




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mfturner
Member
Joined Mar 2013
Longmont, CO
Apr 21, 2017 13:38 |  #8

Plus one to all of the advice above, I can only add that my 60d's popup flash works best as Wallstreet describes, as strong fill light in concert with the ambient light, in the range of -1 2/3 to -2/3 FEC. If I need more light I go to the Speedlite bounced off of a wall or ceiling.




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tspencer1
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Apr 24, 2017 08:33 as a reply to mfturner's post |  #9

Here are the two I went with. I decided to pose the musicians around the keyboard - thought that would be a lot more interesting (and easier!) than posing against a big white backdrop. I would welcome critique. I can see that guy in the front center is overexposed. But I did not catch that at the time.

EXIF for both:

Partial metering
1/100
f 5.6
ISO 5000
FL 25mm

Thanks all,
Tim

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wallstreetoneil
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Post has been last edited 6 months ago by wallstreetoneil. 3 edits done in total.
Apr 24, 2017 16:11 |  #10

tspencer1 wrote in post #18336768 (external link)
Here are the two I went with. I decided to pose the musicians around the keyboard - thought that would be a lot more interesting (and easier!) than posing against a big white backdrop. I would welcome critique. I can see that guy in the front center is overexposed. But I did not catch that at the time.

EXIF for both:

Partial metering
1/100
f 5.6
ISO 5000
FL 25mm

Thanks all,
Tim
thumbnailHosted photo: posted by tspencer1 in
./showthread.php?p=183​36768&i=i186211300
forum: Critique Corner
thumbnailHosted photo: posted by tspencer1 in
./showthread.php?p=183​36768&i=i188393978
forum: Critique Corner


Tim,

Based on your thread starting pictures, I think your 2nd picture is a 1000% improvement - so congrats on taking the feedback and applying it - well done.

I'm not going to get into shooting in RAW format (not jpeg) so that you have the ability to make much bigger corrections to the problem areas of your photos (we all have them and that is why we shoot in raw - so maybe look at some videos and start to explore using lightroom), but my next comment is going to be about taking command of larger groups so that they are listening to you and doing what you ask - so that you can give them the best picture they want and you want. Lets compare the 1st picture to the 2nd picture. Since I have a son about the same age, I feel comfortable making this comment - kids, but specifically boys that age - are not exactly the brightest - in fact they are near morons in the listening department (please look at the various direction of their eyeballs during your important 1st picture - i.e. they are doing many different things).

As a photographer, one of the most important things you can do with larger groups is take control and get their attention so that they are listening to YOU, and only YOU, so you don't get exactly the complete disaster, although hysterical, eyeballs looking everywhere except where you want them to.

I actually think you did a very good job in picture #2 - but here are a few comments:
- as you get your shyt together, you will notice things like the blue bag in picture #2 and before you take the picture your eyes will pick up everything that you want to remove so that don't have to use Photoshop later to remove them
- look at the sax player back left, you can't see his sax and it looks like he has a floating half hand - you could have easily instructed him to put the entire sax in front of him so YOU could capture it (all these tiny little things add up and as you get comfortable with your camera - these are the actual things that you should be concentrating on (all the little things)
- black pianist's right hand fingers are cropped off
- Trumpet dood is either stoned or not listening to you (this is your job to make him listen - tell a joke, etc)

If you shot in RAW, and you knew how to use Lightroom (LR), you could do things like:
- bring down the exposure level on the white pianists hands
- bring down the exposure on his shirt
- bring up the exposure on the guys in the back row to bring depth to their clothing

Overall - well done.


Hockey and wedding photographer. Favourite camera / lens combos: a 1DX II with a Tamron 45 1.8 VC, an A7Rii with a Canon 24-70F2.8L II, and a 5DSR with a Tamron 85 1.8 VC. Every lens I own I strongly recommend [Canon (35Lii, 100L Macro, 24-70F2.8ii, 70-200F2.8ii, 100-400Lii), Tamron (45 1.8, 85 1.8), Sigma 24-105]. If there are better lenses out there let me know because I haven't found them.

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tspencer1
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Joined Oct 2015
Apr 24, 2017 17:03 as a reply to wallstreetoneil's post |  #11

Wall Street -
FANTASTIC pointers and advice - many thanks. I shoot in RAW some, but did not for this shoot - lesson learned. And I have tried Lightroom but have not taken the time to truly learn. I use Faststone Image Viewer (free) to edit and have been somewhat satisfied - but I am intrigued by your comment on the ability to adjust different exposure levels - bright and dark.

When I brought the photos up on my computer screen, I did notice the blue bag and kicked myself for not noticing it on scene. I also would have moved th guitar in the lower right had I noticed that. I did not notice - even in post - the sax player's hands and sax - thank you.

And the 3 sets of eyes left in the 1st photo - they were flirting with girls before I got them on stage - and I did not notice. You have given me a lot of homework for next time - many thanks!




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