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FORUMS General Gear Talk Flash and Studio Lighting 
Thread started 12 Aug 2009 (Wednesday) 09:19
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How to measure exposure/brightness?

 
colormaniac
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Aug 12, 2009 09:19 |  #1

Yesterday I shot a friend. The pictures looked OK on the camera screen. The hair with the help of hair light is distinguished from the black background. However, after I uploaded the pictures into my computer, I found that the pictures looked underexposed. The hair usually is just blended into the black background. I had to turn up the exposure or brightness, also the fill, in order to get the result that at least separate the hair from the background.

What should I do to avoid this kind of situation? Both the brightness of camera and of the monitor (which is an HDTV) are at the default neutral setting. Of course this is no guarantee. But I'm at a loss which one to trust. Would it be that the pictures directly from the camera are OK but my monitor brightness is just too low? Or the other way round? How can I tell?



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gonzogolf
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Aug 12, 2009 09:38 |  #2

colormaniac wrote in post #8445431 (external link)
Yesterday I shot a friend. The pictures looked OK on the camera screen. The hair with the help of hair light is distinguished from the black background. However, after I uploaded the pictures into my computer, I found that the pictures looked underexposed. The hair usually is just blended into the black background. I had to turn up the exposure or brightness, also the fill, in order to get the result that at least separate the hair from the background.

What should I do to avoid this kind of situation? Both the brightness of camera and of the monitor (which is an HDTV) are at the default neutral setting. Of course this is no guarantee. But I'm at a loss which one to trust. Would it be that the pictures directly from the camera are OK but my monitor brightness is just too low? Or the other way round? How can I tell?


Are you using your histogram to check your exposures when you shoot? Chimping the review screen can be helpful, but its far from definitive when indicating exposure. Also if you are getting inconsistent results calibrate your monitor. I'm not sure if the hardware calibration devices will do an hdtv monitor, but there are websites where you can at least check a brightness scale. www.dpreview.com (external link) uses this method at the bottom of their camera review pages.




  
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colormaniac
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Aug 12, 2009 10:31 |  #3

gonzogolf wrote in post #8445541 (external link)
Are you using your histogram to check your exposures when you shoot? Chimping the review screen can be helpful, but its far from definitive when indicating exposure. Also if you are getting inconsistent results calibrate your monitor. I'm not sure if the hardware calibration devices will do an hdtv monitor, but there are websites where you can at least check a brightness scale. www.dpreview.com (external link) uses this method at the bottom of their camera review pages.


No, I was not chimping the histogram. I would do that in future. I can't find that brightness scale in the website you suggested. BY the way, what's the difference between adjusting exposure and adjusting brightness in ACR?



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gonzogolf
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Aug 12, 2009 10:55 |  #4

colormaniac wrote in post #8445882 (external link)
No, I was not chimping the histogram. I would do that in future. I can't find that brightness scale in the website you suggested. BY the way, what's the difference between adjusting exposure and adjusting brightness in ACR?

I'm not a photoshop expert so I dont know the difference between the two fixes in ACR exactly. If I had to guess, and its only a guess, that adjusting the exposure in ACR raises all the values, whereas raising the brightness probably increases the brightness of lighter tones at a disproportionate rate to the darker tones.


Look near the bottom of this page http://www.dpreview.co​m/reviews/canoneos5dma​rkii/ (external link)

There is a brightness scale. you should be able to see differences between each little white, grey or black square. If the squares run into each other your monitor is skewed on way or another.

Also are you familiar with the white towel method of exposure calculation?
Shoot a white towel as part of your setup, adjust the exposure to the point you still see detail in the white towel. Its a lot easier to bring the blacks back in post than it is to fix blown highlights.




  
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Underscore
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Aug 12, 2009 10:57 |  #5

Use a light meter, aim at the light source, and shoot. done. I have lived your world and after getting a light/flash meter, I have never thought twice about things like this again.




  
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bobbyz
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Aug 12, 2009 11:33 |  #6

Agree, buy a lightmeter and make your life easier.


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matonanjin
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Aug 12, 2009 11:35 |  #7

Has anyone mentioned getting a lightmeter?


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colormaniac
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Aug 12, 2009 11:46 as a reply to  @ matonanjin's post |  #8

At this point, I may not be able to afford a light meter. Would a gray card or the white towel method be a cheaper way to do something similar?



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gonzogolf
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Aug 12, 2009 11:49 |  #9

white towel I think is easier than a gray card if you are using flash.




  
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colormaniac
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Aug 12, 2009 11:49 |  #10

gonzogolf wrote in post #8446055 (external link)
Look near the bottom of this page http://www.dpreview.co​m/reviews/canoneos5dma​rkii/ (external link)

There is a brightness scale. you should be able to see differences between each little white, grey or black square. If the squares run into each other your monitor is skewed on way or another.

Wow, my monitor is way too dark then. I have to turn it up to 70 from 50 in its brightness scale.

A month ago I posted a picture here but people complained that it's too dark. Then I always keep my monitor's brightness as low as 50.



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bobbyz
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Aug 12, 2009 11:51 |  #11

colormaniac wrote in post #8446414 (external link)
Wow, my monitor is way too dark then. I have to turn it up to 70 from 50 in its brightness scale.

A month ago I posted a picture here but people complained that it's too dark. Then I always keep my monitor's brightness as low as 50.

Don't rely on monitor brightness or LCD brightness or even on your eyes, period. Go look at the histogram in any of the applications that you use for photo editing.


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phidailo
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Aug 12, 2009 12:07 as a reply to  @ bobbyz's post |  #12

Def. don't rely on monitor settings. I had to calibrate my monitor after viewing some photos I process on a laptop and realized the colors were way different.


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Aug 12, 2009 17:04 |  #13

Underscore wrote in post #8446074 (external link)
Use a light meter, aim at the light source, and shoot. done. I have lived your world and after getting a light/flash meter, I have never thought twice about things like this again.

No substitute for metering the scene!

Of course, if you are letting ETTL determine the light you can't meter it.

Same with your monitor - get it calibrated some how. Preference is to use a calibration tool.


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Wilt
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Aug 12, 2009 19:40 |  #14

colormaniac wrote in post #8446390 (external link)
At this point, I may not be able to afford a light meter. Would a gray card or the white towel method be a cheaper way to do something similar?

You have a camera with Partial or Spot. Meter your hand, and add +1EV, that gives you a reading equivalent to a gray card reading. Go buy a gray card.

To adjust your monitor brightness, to do www.dpreview.com (external link) and retrieve one of the test reports on a Canon dSLR. At the bottom of the first page of any report is a 26 step gray scale. Adjust your monitor brightness and contrast so that you can see as many of the grayscale steps as possible.


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Aug 12, 2009 21:20 |  #15

Its good to see that Wilt doesnt read any of the previous posts :)




  
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How to measure exposure/brightness?
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