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Video thumbnail for youtube video Lindsay Adler on TTL vs Manual Lighting - The Phoblographer

Photographer Lindsay Adler has to be one of the better lighting instructors of our time. And in this recent video from creativeLive, she demonstrates the main differences between TTL metering and manual exposure metering when it comes to lighting.

While many folks seem to absolutely love and completely rely on TTL metering, Lindsay shows you that it can only do so much. Modern TTL flash systems deliver the exposure that it thinks that you want whereas manual exposures are set by you. So when working with TTL lights, you’ll need to usually find some way to compensate for their shortcomings–which can sometimes be frustrating in real life.

Check out the video after the jump.

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Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Nikon D7100 golden hour and bar samples (11 of 13)ISO 4001-200 sec at f - 4.0

The Golden Hour: it’s one of the times that photographers talk about the most. If you’re new to shooting, this is a time when the Earth is bathed in lots of golden and orange natural light. Think about all the times in the movies when you’ve seen a couple romantically watching the sunset or the sunrise together. This romantic moment isn’t just because of the bond between the couple but also because of the fact that this daily occurrence is such a jaw-droppingly beautiful one.

So, are you ready to shoot?

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Chris Gampat Shooting Landscapes (9 of 10)

Want more Useful Photography Tips? Check them out here.

As you become a more advanced photographer, you’ll learn quite a bit. For example, composition can always be changed in the post-production phase–as can tilt, saturation or nearly anything else. But what you’ll really begin to see is just how well your camera’s meter works. On average, I feel that my aging Canon 5D Mk II underexposes by around one stop; in fact, lots of other owners feel the same way. And even though the camera’s meter will say that it is balanced, I find myself brightening the image by a full stop all the time. Over time, this led me to just overexpose in the camera; but it would also mean that my highlights eventually were destroyed in some cases.

Choosing Spot metering over evaluative helped at times, but not all the time.

So what is the solution?

All reviewers on the Phoblographer staff are required to be proficient in the tried and true Sunny 16. It’s how we test the metering of cameras. According to this rule: in a bright sunny scene with nary a shadow around, your f-stop will be f16 while your shutter speed will be the reciprocal of your ISO. So with that said, we mean that it will be 1/100th, ISO 100 and f16 in a bright sunny scene with barely any shadows. You’ll need to pay very careful attention to the scene and also figure out how dark and light the shadows are too.

By using this method, you can tell how much detail your camera can pull from the highlights and shadows in the post-production phase. This is known as the dynamic range. The dynamic range then can help you determine the individual color levels to give you the best image you can possibly get.

And once you know how to meter with your camera in order to get the right idea, your entire workflow will be much faster. How much faster? I’ve perfected it to the point where I can get exactly what I need in a single shot–which translates into a lot less work in post and a much less full hard drive.

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Useful Contrast (1 of 1)ISO 1001-50 sec at f - 7.1

This is one image that was exposed for the highlights slightly (underexposed) and had the shadows boosted in post.

Want more Useful Photography Tips? Check them out here.

While leading a photo walk the other day, I was trying to teach folks that photography is a lot more than just composition, looking at a scene, and being captivated by it. Instead, it’s also about absorbing the scene and trying to figure out how you can capture all the details of the scene in a single shot. This, over most other things, I think is an incredible skill that you can use day in and day out as a photographer. To boot, you don’t need to shoot in manual for this.

For starters, look at the scene through your viewfinder and figure out the contrast between the brightest of brights and the darkest of darks. Your camera will automatically figure out a middle ground in the evaluative scene metering mode but in order to get the most details in the image ask yourself: “Are the brights more dominant in this image or are the highlights?” Also ask yourself which one is more extreme.

Editor’s Correction: the following section has been rewritten to be more clear and also corrected

If you’re shooting a scene mostly dominated by the shadows, then first expose perfectly for the shadows and then try to overexpose by around 1/3rd to 1 and 1/3 stop. The reason for this is because modern camera sensors can pick up more detail from the shadows then from the highlights. If you’re shooting a scene mostly dominated by the highlights, then underexpose by 1/3rd to half a stop. The reason for this is because you’ll have an easier time pushing the shadows to get less grain and an overexposure of this much can easily be fixed in modern software.

By shooting this way, you’ll have a lot less images to go through in the post-production phase and your workflow will be much more seamless.

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Samsung NX300 product images (1 of 6)ISO 2001-125 sec at f - 5.6

The Samsung NX300 is a camera that has a major emphasis on mobile sharing. With built in WiFi transmission and a a very sleek interface, the NX300 is also aiming to change your workflow. Though it comes bundled with Adobe Lightroom 4, it also will play nicely with other devices. The camera changed our workflow quite a bit when testing it, and using the camera was one of the most fun experiences that I can remember in my years of running this site.

If you’re a bit more serious though, this camera might not be the one you say, “I do” to.

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Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Fujifilm X100s for street product photo (1 of 1)ISO 4001-80 sec at f - 5.0

We’ve been working on the Fujifilm X100s review for almost a month now, and we have to say that the camera is really quite the awesome piece of hardware. At first, I wasn’t so smitten for it but it has started to warm up to me after sticking around as a constant companion image taker. The company has truly made this an extremely capable camera and has indeed improved on some of the biggest problems that they faced with the X100–the camera’s predecessor.

I’ve been testing it in the streets of New York City–the perfect proving grounds for the audience that this camera is targeted towards. And despite some admirable performance and improvements from its first incarnation, the camera will still face some issues.

Editor’s Note: PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE realize that this is not our review. We don’t want some schmuck from a forum coming in and accusing us saying that our review wasn’t thorough enough. Consider this a special report. The full review will come after the publishing of this piece.

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