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FORUMS Canon Cameras, Lenses & Accessories Canon EOS Digital Cameras
Thread started 02 Apr 2008 (Wednesday) 21:19
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Getting Proper Exposure.

 
The ­ Fox
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Apr 02, 2008 21:19 |  #1

I have been looking for a while and have a few questions about proper exposure on my 20d.
1. How can I get better not so blown highlights and not so black shadows in bright sun light? (a.k.a. proper exposure)
2. What is the best way to use my 430ex as fill flash in daylight on people?
3. How can I get the exposure right on indoors?
4. How do you properly read a histogram?

Thanks for answering any of the above questions.

Nick


"I work from awkwardness. By that I mean I don't arrange things. If I stand in front of something, instead of arranging it, I arrange myself" -Diane Arbus
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Chris71
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Apr 02, 2008 21:26 |  #2

Taking pics in bright sun light, you want to expose or meter for the bright background, and let the flash expose the foreground. You will most likely need at least +1 FEC to get the foreground right.


Chris

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DDan
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Apr 02, 2008 21:34 as a reply to Chris71's post |  #3

When reading the histogram, I try to pile up the histogram on the right until you are up against the wall on the right side. Then you have went too far. Watch for the exposure warning bllinkies. That will show you the blown hilights.


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jamesdmo
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Apr 02, 2008 22:00 |  #4

Many people, including me, have benefited greatly from the book, Understanding Exposure by Bryan Peterson. I highly recommend it!

Link to book on Amazon here.external link


5D MIV, 7D, EF 24-105mm, EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS L, EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II, 580EX-II and some other stuff

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Bendel
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Apr 02, 2008 22:13 |  #5

jamesdmo wrote in post #5248950external link
Many people, including me, have benefited greatly from the book, Understanding Exposure by Bryan Peterson. I highly recommend it!

Link to book on Amazon here.external link

I second that, probably the best $25 I have spent in photography.


Brandon
Canon 5D, 24-105 F4L, 70-200 F4L, 85 F1.8, 430EX II

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pointerDixie214
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Apr 02, 2008 23:02 |  #6

Bendel wrote in post #5249034external link
I second that, probably the best $25 I have spent in photography.

You can get this and his other "Learning to See Creatively" on Amazon.com for $32 delivered. This will get you better photos than any equipment you will ever buy. Seriously.


Canon EOS 30D * Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 * Canon 70-200mm f/4L

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thatkatmat
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Apr 02, 2008 23:41 |  #7

The great thing about his books is that they are easy to read...err, I guess it's like he's having a discussion with you....Every once in a while I re-read em...I mean I know all the material....But I find after I read them again it gets me thinking about my shots a little more...
my two cents


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ironchef31
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Apr 02, 2008 23:42 |  #8

The Fox wrote in post #5248674external link
I have been looking for a while and have a few questions about proper exposure on my 20d.
1. How can I get better not so blown highlights and not so black shadows in bright sun light? (a.k.a. proper exposure)
2. What is the best way to use my 430ex as fill flash in daylight on people?
3. How can I get the exposure right on indoors?
4. How do you properly read a histogram?

Thanks for answering any of the above questions.

Nick

Nick
Here it is in a nutshell:
Before answering the questions let's define a few things
1) a "stop" = 1 unit of exposure
2) From one stop to the next, you are doubling or halving the amount of light.
3) 3 things that controls stops are aperture, shutter speed and ISO.
4) Properly exposed white will be white WITH DETAIL (very important)
5) Properly exposed black will be black with detail
6) White with detail underexposed by 2 stops gives you 18% gray (this is what your camera tries to expose to)
7) 3 stops underexposed 18% gray is black (so 5 stops underexposed white with detail is black.
8) Lighting ratio is the difference in exposure from highlights (white with detail) to shadows (black with detail)

So the game is to shoot a scene where the highlights to the shadows are within 4 stops
to retain detail in highlight and shadow

Question 1
Bright sun at noon produces high contrast or high ratio light. A properly exposed white brides dress will cause lost detail in the shade of a tree. Some of the things you can do about this is shoot your subject in the shade or use a reflector or flash to fill in the shadows. Or just wait for the Golden Hour.

Question 2
Using the flash to fill in the shadows will bring the lighting ration down a bit. You don't want to let the flash eliminate the shadows but to just give some detail in the shadows.
Let's say your subject is waring a baseball cap and half of his face is in the shadow of the brim. The difference in exposure from the lit side of his face to the shadow is 4 stops difference. The photo would not look good because half his face would be missing.
Use your flash and set it for -1 stop exposure compensation. This would tell the flash at the proper exposure to back off the light by 1 stop (half the light it would normally need)
Now there is detail in the highlights and shadows of the face and it looks natural because you would expect a shadow from the baseball cap to be where it is.

Another technique you might want to read up on is "Dragging the shutter"
Do a search on the forum for it.

Question 3
Camera meters are pretty sophisticated these days. The average metering setting does a good job at figuring out what is needed.
But if you want more control, you can use a gray card. A gray card is something you can buy at a camera store and it's gray.(duh.) If you let your camera meter take a photo and you average out all the pixels, 18% gray is what you will get. Which is the gray card.
Also you can meter off the palm of your hand. It's about 18% gray.

Question 4
A histogram is a brutally honest representation of the tonal values of you picture.
The left side of the histogram represents black (a digital value of 0) and the right side represents white (a digital value of 255). The vertical component of the histogram represents how many pixels of each value from 0 to 255. So a very white scene like snow will have a big spike on the right of the histogram and a night scene will have a bit spike on the left of the histogram.

The histogram represents about 7 stops of dynamic range (but on a monitor you can only see about 4 to 5 stops)

If you see the histogram curve clipped on the left or right, you've lost detail in your photo. It can't be recovered. It's beyond the dynamic range of the camera.

You should always shoot average lit scenes where the bulk of the information is on the right of the histogram without it being clipped. Of course there are always exceptions to the rules. You just need to know how to interpret the information on the histogram. Sensors are optimized for more information on the right. If you try to brighten up a dark exposure in post production, you will create "noise" in the very dark areas of the photo. But it's ok to darken a bright photo (as long as the highlights are not clipped or blown out)

I hope it's not too long winded and the information is right. I'm sure others will be adding their 2 cents.

Good Luck


Ken
30D, 18-55mm, nifty 50, 17-55 F2.8 IS, 70-200 F2.8 IS

I tried to bounce my flash off the ceiling once. Left a mark on the ceiling and broke my flash.

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sponserv
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Joined Oct 2006
Daytona Beach FL
Apr 03, 2008 01:16 |  #9

I have bought about 15 copies of Understanding Exposure. Any time someone tells me they want to get into photography they get a gift copy from me. Awesome book and as stated above, put into terms that are very easy to understand.


Joe
30D 17-85 IS USM
5D, 5D Mk II, 7D, 100-400 f/4L 70-200 f/2.8L 24-70 f/2.8L 14 f/2.8L 16-35 f/2.8L 100 f/2.8 Macro 580 EX and various bits and pieces

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silvex
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Joined Sep 2006
Southern California, USA
Apr 03, 2008 01:36 |  #10

What I do is on my 30D:

- shoot Av or M
- Set my 580ex II on hsync
- Expose on a bright spot on the subject
- set 0 FEC

take a shot and adjust the FEC either +/0 1/3

Repeat as necessary.


.
-Ed
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bernard218
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1 post
Joined Mar 2007
Apr 22, 2008 18:42 |  #11

I have a Non-Canon Lens with an EOS Adapter for use on my Canon XT, (Tilt & Shift). I understand that I have to do Stop Down Metering. Please give me directions if possible by eMail. (bernard218@aol.com)
Thankyou,
Bernie Schulman




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Getting Proper Exposure.
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