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I want to be out there

By Debbiee
One thing I havent done much of is shooting images in low light, so thought I'd have a go at it again today, this one is using window light as the main source of light (and as it was quite a dull day the light was low), I wanted the correct exposure to be on the lighest part of his skin i.e where the light was hitting him through the window, and this image is what I achieved. I found it quite difficult to get the correct exposure in these images and the majority of my images came out very noisy Including this one (I had to use the noise reduction quite heavily in the raw processing which I think is quite evident in the image) so any tips on shooting in low or even very varied light as the above image was shot would be greatfully received.

heres how I set this shot up so maybe someone can explain where I went so badly wrong lol.

I set my ISO at 400 which I think was wrong, I started off with ISO 800 and lowered it to 400 but I think now for the exposure on the face I could maybe have got away with ISO 200?

I used aperture priority at f5.6 and tried to get my camera to read from the lightest part of his skin by zooming in on this area and letting it set the shutter speed, I then used this reading to set my aperture and shutter speed manually, composed and shot this image.

I think I must be having some kind of brain block lol as I just can't seem to get my images right at the moment which is why I haven't uploaded anything for a couple of weeks.

Tags: Child Portraits and people

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miptog 14 3.6k 63 United Kingdom
30 Aug 2011 11:55PM
Shots like this are difficult because the dynamic range difference between shadow areas and higlights can either cause the highlights to blow or the shadows to contain no detail. The end result is subjective and down to creative intent. In this case if you had exposed, or compensated for the shadow area of the skin it may have given you the result that you wanted.

The Canon 350D may well suffer with noise at higher ISO's, and handling it in post is probably the best way to mange it. Noise generally is worse in shadow areas.

Another tip is to take an exposure of the shadow area and the higlights on the skin, and if there are within 2 stops differnce you can likley get away with exposing for the shadows without blowing out the highlights on the skin.

Hope it helps

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Debbiee 13 136 6 United Kingdom
31 Aug 2011 7:45AM
thank you so much Smile
banehawi Plus
15 2.1k 4036 Canada
31 Aug 2011 11:12PM
A question and a suggestion.

Question, - does your camera have the ability to spot meter? If so, use it to meter off the brightest part of the face. You used partial, and I would suggest you should have made sure that partial included more window that shadow.

If not, - set the camera at its lowest ISO, set the aperture you want, point it straight at the face which is facing the light ONLY, - even if you need to move in close. Read what the meter says the shutter speed should be.

Then set the cam to manual mode, input these settings, focus on the area of the face thats lightest, as youve done, and take the shot. You will likely get a fairly dark shot, with the front of the face exposed reasonably well.

If you find that the shot looks too underexposed, then increase the ISO in steps, leaving the settings as they were, until it looks right. You may well find you can get away with a lower ISO.

So in a nutshell, start with ISO 100 and meter for the window, then take multiple shots, increasing ISO as you go.

And now for the shot, - I dont see a whole lot wrong, but I will load a mod or two with comments in the mods. Miptogs mod is very good also.

Debbiee 13 136 6 United Kingdom
1 Sep 2011 9:37PM
Thanks Willie, My Camera doesn't have spot metering it has partial, centre weighted and evaluative metering modes, I believe that partial was my best choice for finding the correct exposure for the above image? although I will admit the difference between metering modes still goes over my head a bit. Will definitely try out your suggestions with my daughter and see where I get with that. I do love these type of shots, and hopefully I can get some better results now with a bit more understanding so again thank you for your help.
banehawi Plus
15 2.1k 4036 Canada
1 Sep 2011 11:33PM
Partial was the right choice, however its important to make sure you have more window in the frame than child when metering, - what this is doing in effect is forcing the camera to select an exposre more suitable to the light than the dark. THis gives the most dramatic effect.


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