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Thread: Making the perfect exporture in short time

  1. #1

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    Making the perfect exporture in short time

    I need an advice in making the right exposure in short time cause considering my short experience when I want to take a picture manually I must take 4 or 5 pictures to make the perfect exposure so when I'm with my friend they get bored of me when I picture them so I don't have the opportunity to picture manual portraits and I'm very interested in portraits , so any help ?
    Thanks ..

    Ahmed

  2. #2
    dubaiphil's Avatar
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    Re: Making the perfect exporture in short time

    Aperture priority - shoot

    Check LCD and histogram

    Adjust with exposure compensation if required

    Shoot again

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    Re: Making the perfect exporture in short time

    Quote Originally Posted by dubaiphil View Post
    Aperture priority - shoot

    Check LCD and histogram

    Adjust with exposure compensation if required

    Shoot again
    Can't add anything to that!

    Good, concise advice.

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    Re: Making the perfect exporture in short time

    I agree with Phil. That's the method that I use when shooting handheld 99% of the time.

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    Re: Making the perfect exporture in short time

    I'm not quite sure why you want to shoot manually Ahmed; the automation in your camera helps a lot. I shoot at aperture priority about 80% of the time (and virtually 100% of the time for portraits).

    For portraits, I change to single point autofocus and line the point up with the eye nearest to the camera, press my shutter down half way down to lock in the focus point, move my camera to recompose and then press the shutter all the way to take the picture.

    I follow Phil's workflow as well, but generally nail it on the first shot for most portraits.

  6. #6
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    Re: Making the perfect exporture in short time

    While I too often use Phil's strategy, I would suggest something else. You should learn how your camera is metering, and how to use the different metering modes. If you haven't read it yet, the tutorial on this site, http://www.cambridgeincolour.com/tut...a-metering.htm, is a good place to start.

    For example, let's say that your sky is much brighter than the area you want properly exposed. If you use an averaging type of metering, the camera will average in the sky, and it will reduce the exposure accordingly. That will leave the other areas underexposed. The camera can't know which areas you want properly exposed, and it does not know what it is looking at.

    So, I will sometimes use Phil's approach, but I will select the metering mode to match the situation. And often I won't use that approach at all. If I know how I want a specific area exposed, I will use a spot meter, meter that particular area, and set the camera to expose that area the way I want. In other cases, where the lighting is very complex, I will sometimes take a spot metering off the palm of my hand, and then open up one more stop. That is because the palm is roughly a stop brighter than neutral gray.

    All of which is to say that I think you should do two things. One is to collect a few good quick methods, like Phil's. The other is to study a bit more about metering so that you can make more informed choices.

  7. #7

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    Re: Making the perfect exporture in short time

    Dan,

    Notice that Phil's approach doesn't address which metering method to use. My point is that your excellent discussion of metering methods isn't to be taken as doing something different than what Phil suggested. Instead, it's in addition to doing what Phil suggested because the method he describes will work regardless of the metering method used.

  8. #8
    inkista's Avatar
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    Re: Making the perfect exporture in short time

    Ahmed, if you only recently switched to M mode on the camera, chances are good you're not paying any attention to the meter in the viewfinder. In the automatic modes, the camera's auto-exposure system adjusts the exposure settings so that the needle is always sitting at 0, or where you set it with exposure compensation.

    However, in M mode, that scale down in the bottom of the viewfinder is no longer your exposure compensation scale--it's your light meter. Pay attention to it. If you want to get the exposure your camera's automatic modes would have gotten, then adjust exposure settings until the "needle" sits on "0". However, most of use M mode, because what the camera wants is not what we want. As was mentioned above, learn the different metering modes, how they work, and what can bias them into giving you a false reading. Learn to use your histogram as well after taking the shot to judge exposure.

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    Re: Making the perfect exporture in short time

    ahmed manual is the way to go along with a hand held light meter, that is if you have all the time in the world to spend taking one shot. So get off manual, set camera to aperture priority and take some images, look at some of Phil's shots from Dubai, they maybe of a style that you like. It takes time, practice and learning from your mistakes to knock off a couple of good shots, it is very rare to whip out your camera, put to eye then nail the perfect shot, instead take the shot look at the histogram or flashing blinkiees then adjust your exposure compensation to correct (make exposure compensation your second best friend forever). Light and people all move fast so you have to stay two steps or more ahead of the dance for that is what photography is a dance. So you have to practice the dance, some pick it up faster than others, some dance one style of dance better than another some are good at all styles. Now which is my right foot again?

    Cheers:

    Allan

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    Re: Making the perfect exporture in short time

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Buckley View Post
    Dan,

    Notice that Phil's approach doesn't address which metering method to use. My point is that your excellent discussion of metering methods isn't to be taken as doing something different than what Phil suggested. Instead, it's in addition to doing what Phil suggested because the method he describes will work regardless of the metering method used.
    Mostly, but not always. Phil's method, which I also use, can be used with any metering mode. However, when I use spot metering, it is almost always in manual mode, because as soon as you aim the camera away from the area you want to meter, you lose all of the benefit. Phil's approach assumes that you are aiming the camera as the image dictates, and the meter is capturing whatever it happens to capture. Spot metering is most useful when there is a specific area in the image that you want to use for metering, or when you want to use something other than the scene (a palm, a neutral gray card, or whatever) for metering.

  11. #11

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    Re: Making the perfect exporture in short time

    Dan you are most correct in what you state, however ahmed is not to the point of full manual operation of his equipment. As he is new to photography as can be seen from his questions I feel that it would be better to use aperture priority, learn to dial in and out exposure compensation developing his skills and abilities then moving towards full manual operation of the camera in those situations where it is needed. Trying to start off in manual without a mentor at hand can really hard, in some ways we are his mentors however we can be half a world away, so it would be better to start off with small steps instead of trying to run right off the start. Just my thoughts.

    Cheers:

    Allan

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    dubaiphil's Avatar
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    Re: Making the perfect exporture in short time

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Buckley View Post
    Dan,

    Notice that Phil's approach doesn't address which metering method to use. My point is that your excellent discussion of metering methods isn't to be taken as doing something different than what Phil suggested. Instead, it's in addition to doing what Phil suggested because the method he describes will work regardless of the metering method used.
    Well Ahmed wanted a quick method, so I gave a quick answer

    Of course there are several ways to skin a cat.

    My default settings, for when I'm shooting on the fly, are:

    Aperture Priority
    Matrix Metering (Evaluated in Canonspeak, I think)
    Auto ISO on (min shutter speed between 1/60th and 1/100th, max ISO at 6400)
    Centre cross point focus point
    Continual Autofocus
    AF-On to control focusing

    So there, with reasonably even light, I have a good start to grab anything that comes my way.

    Personally I don't tend to use centre weighted or spot - I'm a matrix kinda guy. Matrix is good and matrix is wise (generally on my camera). If the lighting is extreme or wildly different in different parts of the scene then I may use some exposure comp or switch into Manual to expose critically but otherwise I'm relying on my histogram and dynamic range to pull anything back if required from the RAW file. More considered shooting requires more considered camera operation, but if you've got to grab or miss the moment then this covers my bases, and ensures that if I move into an area with a very different light level I'm not faffing with ISO.

  13. #13

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    Re: Making the perfect exporture in short time

    In answering Ahmed one should appreciate that he is using a Fuji bridge camera without the some of the features people use in theirn DSLRs ... not becuase they need to but becuase they have them IMO.

    It seems to me that Ahmed is already working Phil's way and wants a better quicker way and the answer comes from Dan in trusting your camera but appreciating how it can put you wrong and knowing what you can correct in editing when it is putting you wrong .... this all comes from experience in using camera and editor as companion tools.

    This is why my cameras are set to give me a one second review of the shot I have taken which is enough for me to quickly appreciate if all is AOK or otheerwise. There is a danger in working this way becuase in one second a wild animal can move towards you or a miniature train ... both situations where I have had a scare and had to move fast out of the way

    There is also a common but eronious belief amongst newbies that 'professionals' etc. always use Manual and it MUST be the way to go ... they do not and neither should you becuase it isn't Though obviously you need to learn how to work in M so that for the rare occasions you need to so you do not 'mess around' in doing so. I wrote recently that I worked in Manual for decades out of neccesity but luxuriate with the cameras that digital has brought me.

    When I started with my simple P&S and wanted to avoid burning out skies I simply included more sky in the frame while taking half trigger. The camera accordingly exposed more for the sky. Continuing to hold HT I lower camera for shot and take it by completeing full pressure on trigger. Having learnt this technique I continue to use it with more sophisticated cameras I now use as it is very quick in practice.... we talk about sky but the same principle applies in a portrait if the subject is standing beside a briight window or doorway .... anywhere where you have lighting which will lead the camera to give a wrong exposure for your needs. This is one of the principles which lead people to use spot metering which is a modern way of taking your hand meter and taking readings off various parts of the subject and calculating the exposure you want to properly expose the key part of your shot. These days it is quite possible to use a camera as a hand meter as they tell you what exposure they would give and comparing different readings you decide the one you want.

    EDIT I will add that the one second review is the only chimping I do except occasionally when somebody insists on see the shot.
    Last edited by jcuknz; 31st July 2013 at 09:11 PM.

  14. #14
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    Re: Making the perfect exporture in short time

    Quote Originally Posted by Polar01 View Post
    Dan you are most correct in what you state, however ahmed is not to the point of full manual operation of his equipment. As he is new to photography as can be seen from his questions I feel that it would be better to use aperture priority, learn to dial in and out exposure compensation developing his skills and abilities then moving towards full manual operation of the camera in those situations where it is needed. Trying to start off in manual without a mentor at hand can really hard, in some ways we are his mentors however we can be half a world away, so it would be better to start off with small steps instead of trying to run right off the start. Just my thoughts.

    Cheers:

    Allan
    Hi Allan,

    Sorry if I was unclear. I was not recommending that Ahmed use full manual, or recommending against it, for that matter. And I was not criticizing Phil's very sensible suggestion, which is to use a method I often use myself. Rather, I was just suggesting that it is valuable for novices to start learning about how various metering methods work, and then to start thinking about how they want to meter a scene.

    Dan

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    Exposure 101

    In a very informal, off-the-cuff, survey; it seems that a greater number of problems experienced and posted about by CiC members involve persons who in the beginning of their photo experience are attempting to shoot in the manual exposure mode...

    Many more experienced photographers use and recommend the manual mode and many beginning photographers take this as a blanket recommendation that the manual mode "is the way to shoot". Unfortunately, many of the beginning photographers don't have a background which will allow them to effectively make use of manual photography. They end up with exposures that are totally "out-of-the-ballpark", not realizing that an exposure like 1/100 second @ f/8 using ISO 400 in bright sunny conditions will put them so far off that they are not even at a starting point and they become totally confused...

    Add the exposure problems with learning factors like composition, depth of field and the 1/Focal Length shutter speeds for hand held photography; and the new photographer ends up totally confused.

    How best to tackle the complicated, yet essentially simple problem of exposure, is not agreed upon by the consensus of photographers.

    I would suggest that a beginning photographer start with the Programmed Exposure because, at least with Canon DSLR cameras, that will put the photographer at perhaps the closest to optimum exposure. Aperture priority is great but, if the complete newby goes on vacation and wants to be sure of bringing back viable images. At least with Canon equipment, it is very easy to control shutter speed and f.stops in the programmed mode. Additionally, if the person is shooting with a Canon DSLR, the photographer can easily utilize Auto Exposure Bracketing (AEB)

    Setting a camera around ISO 100 or ISO 160 when shooting in bright conditions and using Programmed exposure with AEB and additionally setting the camera on burst mode will provide a burst of three differing exposures and then stop firing until the next time the shutter button is pressed. Shooting in RAW and perusing the three differing exposures in Camera RAW will provide an Exposure 101 Course for the beginning photographer. That beginner will be able to see the differences that shutter speeds and f/stops make upon the exposure. The retention of EXIF data with the image is a great boon to digital photographers.

    After a while using Exposure 101, the photographer can "graduate" to using Aperture Priority, Shutter Speed Priority or Manual Exposure because that photographer will have a pretty solid base of experience in what different shutter speeds and f/stops will do to exposure.

    However, while the photographer is learning exposure, that photographer can also be learning the ins and outs of composition, shutter speed and f/stop because that photographer will always have at least one viably exposed image for every shot...

    YEP! It will eat up more memory but, memory these days is fairly cheap. YEP! It will end up with a lot more images but, that is, IMO, a benefit rather than a drawback. The variously exposed images will allow the photographer a graphic representation of what different exposures will do to the image.

    I am sure that the beginning photographer will expect to have one exposure over exposed; one exposure right on; and one exposure under exposed. The three shot sequences in which the beginner could learn the most might be those in which you end up with two exposures over exposed and the shot with the least exposure right on, or conversely ending up with two exposures under exposed and one with the most exposure right on. This reinforces the fact that what the camera decides to expose at is not always correct. They could learn that there are times when you need to consciously increase exposure (snow scenes for an example) or decrease exposure (black cat in the coal bin for example).

    Unfortunately the very easy AEB burst shooting Exposure 101 method may not be available for all brand cameras. However, I have had this control on all my Canon cameras starting with the D60, which was the second Canon DSLR offered to the public.
    Last edited by rpcrowe; 1st August 2013 at 01:30 AM.

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