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Thread: Amateur needs help...please don't laugh or worse, groan

  1. #1

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    Amateur needs help...please don't laugh or worse, groan

    First time posting here, but I have been reading a lot. My Dad recently died and I am now owner of his Canon Rebel EOS300D with EF-S18-55 mm f/3.5-5.6 lens with built-in flash. Not the greatest camera or lens, but sufficient for my needs for pleasure photo taking. (Well actually I want an external flash and a fast 28-105 lens but that is a different story) I have always been an "auto setting" person, but want to learn more so that I can deal with low light and backlight situations.

    I took photos of an event for my BIL and I knew I was going over the limits of my camera's ability in low light (with the lens I have). When I downloaded the photos I was surprised they are so very underexposed...even more than I expected. Two weeks later when shooting a birthday party in a brightly lit room, the photos are still too dark. That's when I realized that although I had fully charged the battery...it was dying. (when I got the camera manual out Dad had written the date of camera purchase...almost 8 YEARS ago, and these are the original batteries (have 2).

    So, how can I correct these underexposed photos to a passable 4x6 print without have to test print all of them? My PC monitor is not calibrated (just read about this on ya'll's forum). When I test print, the prints are darker than what the monitor is showing.

    Now, don't cringe...but I have been using Microsoft Digital Image Pro 10 for basic corrections. I just installed Adobe Photoshop Elements 2 that came with the camera which seems very similar to what I have been using, but is probably better. I downloaded GIMP but due to lack of tutorials it will take me a longggg time to master this program - can't learn it soon enough to help these photos.

    If I was "rolling in the dough" I'd put them on a flashdrive and take them to a professional who knew what he/she was doing...but alas that isn't an option.

    I know they aren't going to be the greatest, there will be considerable noise, etc. but what is my best option in bringing the color/exposure balance to a fairly natural looking photo?

    I am posting (hopefully, if I can do it right) one of the original photos.

    PS. Not all of the photos (maybe 100 out of 300) were too dark - just the ones taken in low light.

    Amateur needs help...please don't laugh or worse, groan

    Amateur needs help...please don't laugh or worse, groan

    Amateur needs help...please don't laugh or worse, groan

  2. #2

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    Re: Amateur needs help...please don't laugh or worse, groan

    Oh dear, forgot to resize the photos smaller.

  3. #3
    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: Amateur needs help...please don't laugh or worse, groan

    Quote Originally Posted by rosapearl View Post
    Amateur needs help...please don't laugh or worse, groan
    Rosa

    I think what we're needing to look at here is a heavy dose of dodging.

    Parts of the images have gone completely to black, so we can't recover information from there. But most of it has information that can be recovered. This is just a very quick example of what can be achieved.

    You maybe haven't studied the concept of dodge and burn yet. But it's good thing to know about.

    Amateur needs help...please don't laugh or worse, groan

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    Re: Amateur needs help...please don't laugh or worse, groan

    I will guess at your first name as we like to be more on the personal side here....Rosa? You can add it to your profile for future viewers. I see you have took a look at gimp, and yes it has a stiff learning curve. It is however a good program which some here use as do I. This is a quick auto correct useing Gimp and a little sharpening just so you can get started. They can be saved. I first openend in Gimp and under the colors drop down I chose levels. I used the auto correct as this will be easiest for you to start. I then went into filters and sharpened slightly which we can go over later. Ah see another Gimp user....Donald, and he is correct and mine is now over exposed some but for a quick easy example of the changes possible.

    Amateur needs help...please don't laugh or worse, groan

  5. #5

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    Re: Amateur needs help...please don't laugh or worse, groan

    Rosa is fine, it's just a username. Thanks, I'll use both suggestions. On the photo Donald chose I think the autocorrect will be fine. However, at the graveside where the family is under a tent (they are too dark) with drastic backlighting I think the dodging will be the best option.

    Due to my monitor not being calibrated correctly am I going to have to test print a lot of them? Is there not an easy way to adjust my monitor? I have read about this and it is way beyond my comprehension.

    What about the last photo? Just correct the color balance? The wall color was actually a very pale creamy tan. I am assuming the strong color cast comes from just having an popup flash with all the ceiling incandescent eyeball lighting. Reading on this forum, I realize I could have adjusted the camera's white balance.

  6. #6

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    Re: Amateur needs help...please don't laugh or worse, groan

    PS - what if the photo needs to be brighter than what jeeperman has demonstrated? Can I keep adjusting the saturation and brightness?

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    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: Amateur needs help...please don't laugh or worse, groan

    Quote Originally Posted by rosapearl View Post
    Rosa is fine, it's just a username.
    You've maybe seen that most of us tend to use our real names on here. It makes communication more friendly and CiC is that sort of site. Did you know you can go to Edit Profile and enter your proper name under 'Real Name'. Then it will appear underneath your Username in all your posts. You can also put your location in, so that it appears, as mine, alongside.

  8. #8

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    Re: Amateur needs help...please don't laugh or worse, groan

    Will do

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    Re: Amateur needs help...please don't laugh or worse, groan

    Jeannie - all of us started as amateurs and some of us still are! Good luck - I think you'll find this site very helpful in your endeavors.

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    Re: Amateur needs help...please don't laugh or worse, groan

    Hi Jeannie,

    I just did a quick test on what looked like the most under-exposed shot of the three using ACR (Adobe Camera RAW) -- it seemed to come up OK (little bit of noise, but nothing too bad).

    Amateur needs help...please don't laugh or worse, groan

    I'd be happy to adjust the 100 dark ones for you if it helps (no charge!) -- just let me know.

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    Re: Amateur needs help...please don't laugh or worse, groan

    Jeannie, There are special calibration devices that you can get to adjust your monitor;

    Spyder http://www.datacolor.eu/en/ and

    ColorMunki http://xritephoto.com/ph_product_overview.aspx?id=1115

    Available in good photo stores such as;

    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/search...tialSearch=yes

    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/search...tialSearch=yes


    Unfortunately they are not cheap, especially as you dont need them everyday. (probably once or twice a year for most folk)

    Our local photo club bought one and it is shared between those members wanting it, for a small annual fee.

  12. #12

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    Re: Amateur needs help...please don't laugh or worse, groan

    Unfortunately, a calibration device is on my dream list in the far away future. LOL.

    Colin - I like what you did with the photo. My PC with best monitor and printer is at my home office so it will be tomorrow before I can test print. I want to print out what you actually did even though the resolution is rather low to compare it to my results. I took a couple photos into GIMP and did as Jeeperman suggested, but the test prints are coming out a little too dark. When I lighten them more they look too contrasty but when I back down on the contrast then they look rather muddy. Can't quite figure how to correct this.

    Is ACR (Adobe Camera RAW) a component of an Adobe photoshop?

    Nearly fell out of my chair when I saw your offer...but that's just too much to take on. I do appreciate the offer.

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    Re: Amateur needs help...please don't laugh or worse, groan

    For next time you could look at increasing the ISO, I see it was at 400, although you may get more noise in the darker areas, and you may be able to use a slower shutter speed at the lens has image stabilisation. In my experience a failing battery just goes flat, and nothing works, rather than under exposing images. The birthday party histogram is well spread, from dark to light, so perhaps it is the monitor at fault.
    The guide number for the flash on the 300D is approx 13m at 100 ISO, so you may have been expecting a little to much of the flash in that situation, and you need to be closer to the action (if possible)

  14. #14

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    Re: Amateur needs help...please don't laugh or worse, groan

    Thanks Ken, these photos were taken before I found this forum so I was just point and shooting. Yes, I was pushing the flash. You see, I have always used a film camera and it had an external flash that was extremely powerful. My dad bought this Canon Rebel ESO300 8 years ago and while I have taken a few photos with it, for the past 5 years photography has taken a backseat while I was caregiver to my Dad until he passed away this June. Now I want to learn how to use the camera correctly.

    I just love this forum. I have read and read and read the posts and tutorials here. I really appreciate everyone that has taken the time to help me out.

  15. #15

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    Re: Amateur needs help...please don't laugh or worse, groan

    Hi Jeannie,

    Quote Originally Posted by rosapearl View Post
    Colin - I like what you did with the photo. My PC with best monitor and printer is at my home office so it will be tomorrow before I can test print. I want to print out what you actually did even though the resolution is rather low to compare it to my results.
    I adjusted this one for monitor display - the levels could be pushed a little more for printing if you wanted (prints have less dynamic range than monitors, and won't show the noise as much).

    I took a couple photos into GIMP and did as Jeeperman suggested, but the test prints are coming out a little too dark. When I lighten them more they look too contrasty but when I back down on the contrast then they look rather muddy. Can't quite figure how to correct this.
    What you have here isn't a contrast problem - it's just an under-exposure problem, so that's the first thing that needs to be fixed. Sorry, can't help with GIMP as I'm an Adobe Photoshop user.

    Is ACR (Adobe Camera RAW) a component of an Adobe photoshop?
    Yes.

    Nearly fell out of my chair when I saw your offer...but that's just too much to take on. I do appreciate the offer.
    The offer stands, but I'll leave it up to you. It's not a bit deal - honestly; would only take me 20 to 30 minutes (tops) to adjust 100 or so (it's mostly a bulk process, with a quick individual check taking a few seconds). I had 1200 to work through from my last shoot if that's any indication of what I'm used to

  16. #16

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    Re: Amateur needs help...please don't laugh or worse, groan

    Wow- 20-30 minutes to fix? You really know your stuff I am tempted to take you up on this because I have spent several Saturdays on these photos and cannot get them to my liking. How would I get them to you?

  17. #17

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    Re: Amateur needs help...please don't laugh or worse, groan

    Quote Originally Posted by rosapearl View Post
    Wow- 20-30 minutes to fix? You really know your stuff I am tempted to take you up on this because I have spent several Saturdays on these photos and cannot get them to my liking. How would I get them to you?
    Pretty easy to get them to me too ...

    - pop the ones you'd like fixed in a separate folder

    - zip them all into a single file

    - pop along to www.sendthisfile.com and create a free account

    - send the file to yourself

    - when you get a link to the download, send it to me in a private message

    I can download a file of any size (several hundred MB is fine). But if it's much bigger than 100 MB then you might like to batch the files into smaller zip files and send them 1 at a time in case the upload bombs out and you have to stRt again.

  18. #18

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    Re: Amateur needs help...please don't laugh or worse, groan

    Sent you 2 zip files. My wireless is rather slow so I divided the photos into 2 files. Please let me know that your received them.

  19. #19

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    Re: Amateur needs help...please don't laugh or worse, groan

    Quote Originally Posted by rosapearl View Post
    Sent you 2 zip files. My wireless is rather slow so I divided the photos into 2 files. Please let me know that your received them.
    Yep - got both thanks

    Edit: Just uploading the adjusted images now
    Last edited by Colin Southern; 11th September 2011 at 07:53 AM.

  20. #20
    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    Re: Amateur needs help...please don't laugh or worse, groan

    Hi Jeannie,

    When you've got past printing these photos and come to use the camera again, let us know if you need any help with using the camera - looking at the first two, you may have had the camera on manual and not adjusted according to what the light meter was telling you, or been on shutter priority and the lens ran out of wider apertures to use, which resulted in the under exposed pictures.

    Welcome to the CiC forums from ...

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