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Thread: Help, Photo too Bright

  1. #1
    Sony-A390's Avatar
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    Help, Photo too Bright

    I took some photos with my Sony-a390 of my sons car, it was a bright sunny day.
    There seems to be too much light on the car, Can someone tell me what ive done wrong.

    dsc03817.jpg
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    Last edited by Colin Southern; 27th August 2011 at 03:07 AM.

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    re: Help, Photo too Bright

    Hi Wayne, was it manual or automatic exposure? If it was on Auto, was it using a matrix/averaging or a spot metering. If it was spot metering, was the metering point perhaps the back window, which is almost black?

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    re: Help, Photo too Bright

    Hi Wayne,

    Welcome to CiC - great to have you with us.

    It's only slightly over-exposed. It's pretty normal for a camera metering to be a little bit off what is ideal (in fact, in most cases it's even further off than this is here), so the short answer is "you really haven't done anything wrong" (and neither has the camera).

    Some thoughts that come to mind though ...

    1. I'm working from a calibrated and profiled monitor - if you AREN'T, then when you're seeing may well be quite different to how the image really is (so you may be seeing an image that's considerably more over-exposed than I am) (if one is serious about photography, then there's just no getting away from having a calibrated and profiled monitor -- otherwise it's a bit of a lottery as to what you'll be seeing). Calibrating and profiling involves the purchase of a hardware colorimeter ("puk") like the Spyder III or ColorMunki.

    2. If you do find that your camera meters a scene incorrectly, you can add or subtract what's called "Exposure Compensation" ("EC") to force the camera to adjust the camera in the direction you feel it needs to go.

    Hope this helps

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    Sony-A390's Avatar
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    Re: Help, Photo too Bright

    The back end of the car looks to bright and the Pontiac badge cant be seen properly on the boot.
    Is that normal for a DSLR

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    Re: Help, Photo too Bright

    Wayne,

    I think Colin has a point, its not to bad from where I am looking, maybe a shade over but nothing horrendous. Back end does not seem too bright and the badge is certainly discernable, although the angle doesnt help it too much.

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    Re: Help, Photo too Bright

    Quote Originally Posted by Sonya390 View Post
    The back end of the car looks to bright and the Pontiac badge cant be seen properly on the boot.
    Is that normal for a DSLR
    Hi Wayne,

    The "problem" that the camera has is "it's just a box of electronics"; it has no way of knowing that this is a car and that it's important for you to preserve more highlight detail around the boot area. It's also seeing darker areas around where the types are and is probably trying to strike a balance so that some of this detail remains visible too.

    Basically, camera exposure metering is never more than a calculated guess; it's not a DSLR thing - we had exactly the same types of problems in the film days, but the difference was that a good lab would tone down hotter spots like that for you; with digital, things still get adjusted list like they always have - the difference is that now it's up to you to do it.

    I popped your image into Photoshop and gave it a quick tweak for you - is this more like you were after?

    Help, Photo too Bright

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    Re: Help, Photo too Bright

    Wayne,
    Shooting a white car in bright sunlight is asking for trouble - the scene has more dynamic range than your camera sensor can handle. A quick look at the histogram confirms that the image is slightly overexposed - you have part of the histogram bunched up against the right hand (brightest pixels) end.

    Help, Photo too Bright

    I was able to recover some detail on the back end of the car simply by using the Adjustments/Highlights-Shadows tool, see enclosed image (this is a little flat instead and could use some further adjustment).

    Help, Photo too Bright
    Last edited by Colin Southern; 27th August 2011 at 09:32 AM.

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    Re: Help, Photo too Bright

    Quote Originally Posted by lenelg View Post
    Wayne,

    Shooting a white car in bright sunlight is asking for trouble - the scene has more dynamic range than your camera sensor can handle.
    Hi Lennart,

    It's not really a dynamic range issue; disregarding any specular reflections from the chrome, there's still only about a 4 stop dynamic range between the white of the bodywork and the black of the tyres (plus an extra couple of stops or so because the tyres are in the shade) (say 6 or 7 all up) - most cameras will capture around 11 or 12 - so the problem becomes more along the lines of "how to compress the captured dynamic range into something that we can display".

    To put that another way, it's kinda like an HDR image (in a way). It's no problem to expose a white car on a sunny day - however it's a greater challenge to contain the highlights - whilst revealing shadow detail - whilst retaining enough local contrast to make the image look realistic on a monitor that'll only display about 6 stops of DR at best.
    Last edited by Colin Southern; 27th August 2011 at 09:33 AM.

  9. #9
    Sony-A390's Avatar
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    Re: Help, Photo too Bright

    Thank you all for your helpful replys, I didn't expect such a prompt reply. I have only just bought the camera and looks like I will learn a lot from this site.
    Last edited by Colin Southern; 27th August 2011 at 09:33 AM.

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    Re: Help, Photo too Bright

    Colin,
    You are right of course, I was cutting corners in my reasoning. What I see when I look at the histogram is that there are pixels all the way from the darkest to the brightest levels. At the dark end there is a nice distribution which does not bunch up at the dark edge, but at the bright end you see this, which implies that there may be details lost here. But the histogram is based on the camera´s JPEG conversion, not on the data captured by the sensor.

    Given that Wayne is a newcomer, I assume he is shooting JPEGs. In this case, the basic solution is still to look at the histogram in her monitor, and if it looks like the one I posted, dial in a bit of exposure compensation and try another shot.

    My wife uses a "travel camera" (JPEG) while I use a Nikon D5000 (RAW+JPEG). When I compare histograms of her shots with my in-camera JPEGs of the same scene, I often see that hers can have both shadow and highlight details burned out at the same time, while my Nikon is able to contain the data nicely within the range available in JPEG. I am not sure to what extent this is due to differences in sensor size, or to how the camera JPEG conversion is set up.
    Last edited by Colin Southern; 27th August 2011 at 09:34 AM.

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    Sony-A390's Avatar
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    Re: Help, Photo too Bright

    how do I change my user name to Sony-a390 it is not suppse to be Sonya.
    I am a male, Sorry about that

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    Re: Help, Photo too Bright

    Quote Originally Posted by Sonya390 View Post
    how do I change my user name to Sony-a390 it is not suppse to be Sonya.
    I am a male, Sorry about that
    Action in hand. Don't panic.

  13. #13

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    Re: Help, Photo too Bright

    Quote Originally Posted by Sony-A390 View Post
    how do I change my user name to Sony-a390 it is not suppse to be Sonya.
    I am a male, Sorry about that
    All done for you Wayne

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    Re: Help, Photo too Bright

    Quote Originally Posted by Sony-A390 View Post
    I am a male, Sorry about that
    Oh Oh!
    I was visualising a Sonya

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    Re: Help, Photo too Bright

    Quote Originally Posted by lenelg View Post
    Colin,
    You are right of course, I was cutting corners in my reasoning. What I see when I look at the histogram is that there are pixels all the way from the darkest to the brightest levels. At the dark end there is a nice distribution which does not bunch up at the dark edge, but at the bright end you see this, which implies that there may be details lost here. But the histogram is based on the camera´s JPEG conversion, not on the data captured by the sensor.

    Given that Sonya is a newcomer, I assume she is shooting JPEGs. In this case, the basic solution is still to look at the histogram in her monitor, and if it looks like the one I posted, dial in a bit of exposure compensation and try another shot.

    My wife uses a "travel camera" (JPEG) while I use a Nikon D5000 (RAW+JPEG). When I compare histograms of her shots with my in-camera JPEGs of the same scene, I often see that hers can have both shadow and highlight details burned out at the same time, while my Nikon is able to contain the data nicely within the range available in JPEG. I am not sure to what extent this is due to differences in sensor size, or to how the camera JPEG conversion is set up.
    Hi Lennart,

    Yep - JPEG is much of the culprit (in terms of dynamic range). When I pulled the image into Photoshop I did some spot measurements around the boot and only about 10% were blown - but at the other end, the in-camera processing has pretty much clipped a lot of the shadow detail. If Wayne wants to shoot JPEG - unless the camera has an "HDR Mode" then it's pretty much going to be a case of adjusting the compensation to preserve whatever part of the tonal range is most important. Probably the better option long-term is of course to shoot RAW to give more options. Then again, for this kind of shot, I don't think a slight -ve EC would detract much from the rest of the image.

    Frankly, if this is straight out of the camera - with no EC - I'd say the camera did a pretty good job exposure wise.

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    Re: Help, Photo too Bright

    Quote Originally Posted by Sahil View Post
    Oh Oh!
    I was visualising a Sonya
    Sex-change complete

  17. #17

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    Re: Help, Photo too Bright

    Quote Originally Posted by Colin Southern View Post
    Sex-change complete
    :insert weeping smiley here:

    Wish it was other way round..

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    Re: Help, Photo too Bright

    Quote Originally Posted by Sahil View Post
    :insert weeping smiley here:

    Wish it was other way round..
    You'd better not let that lovely lady of your read that!

  19. #19

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    Re: Help, Photo too Bright

    Quote Originally Posted by Colin Southern View Post
    You'd better not let that lovely lady of your read that!
    I play it safe

  20. #20

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    Re: Help, Photo too Bright

    Also, I have a window shopping pass

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