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Thread: Capturing white, help please !

  1. #1

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    Capturing white, help please !

    Hi, everytime I take some pix of anything really crispy white, especially in sunshine, my pictures seem to be way too bright...I do use a filter for the sunshine, I do try different position, but still....is it only fixed with pp ?? ( which I rarely do as I'm still just learning my camera and making an image on a still capture...??? here some of my latest trials...thanks !!

    Capturing white, help please !
    Capturing white, help please !
    Capturing white, help please !
    Capturing white, help please !
    Capturing white, help please !

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    Re: Capturing white, help please !

    Hi Marie-Josee,

    To me, it looks like a simple case of over-exposure. What type of camera are you using? What metering mode are you using? Are you shooting RAW or JPEG?

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    Re: Capturing white, help please !

    HI Colin,

    those were done in jpeg with my Canon EOS T2I, I did try different setting to experience it...Here's the details of each...
    Last edited by mariejo; 17th April 2011 at 05:36 PM.

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    Re: Capturing white, help please !

    Quote Originally Posted by mariejo View Post
    Hi, everytime I take some pix of anything really crispy white, especially in sunshine, my pictures seem to be way too bright...I do use a filter for the sunshine, I do try different position, but still....is it only fixed with pp ?? ( which I rarely do as I'm still just learning my camera and making an image on a still capture...??? here some of my latest trials...thanks !!

    Capturing white, help please !
    focal leenght 55.0mm , exp time 1/160, aperturef/8.0, iso 100, metering mode matrix,exposure normal
    Capturing white, help please !
    focal lernght 55.0mm , exposure time f/125, aperture f/16.0, exposure:aperture priority, with exposure bias -0.33
    Capturing white, help please !
    exp time 1/160, aperture f/7.1,iso200, metering mode matirx,exposure:shutter priority, exp bias-0.33
    Capturing white, help please !
    exp time 1/125, aperture f/16.0, exporsure: aperture priority, exposure bias-0.33
    Capturing white, help please !

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    Re: Capturing white, help please !

    Try to meter specifically from the white areas. Some exposure compensation may be necessary.

    As an experiment, try looking at the recommend exposure settings while you move your camera around a scene. Even with Evaluative/Matrix metering you will find considerable variation.

    For very bright problem spots you may need to underexpose by -1.0 or more. This sort of scene is always tricky.

    The problem with exposing for the brightest area is that the shadows will become excessively dark and need some careful brightening with suitable editing tools.

    I'm afraid that there isn't any simple answer to this problem.

  6. #6

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    Re: Capturing white, help please !

    thanks alot Geoff f. I'm a beginner and am one of those that don't necessarily understand when I read it but when I do produce it, I will try to do as you said...am sure that will help me a lot...thanks...!!

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    Re: Capturing white, help please !

    Do you have something called "bracketing" on your cam? That allows you to take several shots of different +-EV variations automatically. If you have that, use that to take a spread of shots, one will be ok.

    Also, what metering modes does your cam have? Ie are you using a relatively small area (and a WHITE area) to meter, because if so, you might want to change to whole scene average rather than just the small white area. That should give you a more balanced reading if other parts are not white.

    White is basically tricky because it tends to confuse cams and cause you to overexpose. With a little practise you soon learn to dial in a bit of a minus when doing white, bracketing will help you whilst your learning to deal with this, as should whole scene average.
    Last edited by Nass; 18th April 2011 at 09:30 PM.

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    Re: Capturing white, help please !

    Isn't it just much practical to bring along a gray card and do a test shot with it to nail the exposure and white balance? Not to sound like a smart Aleck here. I, too gets frustrated shooting white objects so the way I get around with it is to read how to shoot white objects. All camera meters will underexpose a white object because the built-in camera meter wants to make it gray. To bring it back to its natural brightness level you have to add some exposure value to it and not to subtract. Typically you can do a +1 to +1.7 EV compensation to what the camera meter is telling you. To be more precise, you have to use the spot metering mode so you know that the camera is just metering on the white areas alone. If still in doubt about this concept, you can use the built-in screen of the camera and activate the highlights warning on it to tell you if you have blownout areas on your image. You can gauge from the scene being shown to you on the camera's screen if you really have an overexposed shot.

    Doing it the other way will make it worse. I think the concept should be - For white objects ADD compensation, For dark objects SUBTRACT compensation. You might find the idea illogical but until you understand how the camera's built-in meter works that will take out the mystery about the practice. If you are confronted with a very challenging subject to shoot with very dark and bright objects together, make a decision as to what among the two is your main priority and meter that one. If you picked the white objects, meter it and then ADD +1 to +1.7 EV. If you picked the dark object, meter on that that one and SUBTRACT by applying -1 to -1.7 EV according to your taste. If still in doubt... BRACKET.
    Last edited by jiro; 18th April 2011 at 06:20 PM.

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    Re: Capturing white, help please !

    Quote Originally Posted by jiro View Post
    All camera meters will underexpose a white object because the built-in camera meter wants to make it gray.
    Yes and no

    If you spot-meter a white area yes - or if you a scene that's predominately white in evaluative/matrix metering mode then yes, but if it's just a white patch in an area that has predominately darker tones then the result will be quite different; just how different depends on a number of things ... 1 series cameras have 63 metering zones and tend to let a single bright spot blow (eg naked sun in a shot) whereas prosumer and entry-level cameras typically have 35 metering zones and give a bit more weight to a single bright spot.

    In Marie-Josee's case though I'd probably just use evaluative metering - turn on highlight alert - and then just dial in a bit of -ve exposure compensation if I got the blinkies on important parts of the shot. Also shooting RAW is more likely to give a pretty good safety margin.

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    Re: Capturing white, help please !

    Quote Originally Posted by Colin Southern View Post
    Yes and no
    Thanks, Colin. I forgot to include in my explanation the ratio of the white object size relative to the whole frame, that is why I added the spot-metering option to explain the idea further.

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    Re: Capturing white, help please !

    wow!!! with all of you, I don't need a teaching class !!! thanks so much...and yes, it all makes sense...I will try....!!!

    I don't use RAW, tends to take a lot of space on my memory and use a lot of my battery...will try it more...often...though...thanks so much !!!

  12. #12
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    Re: Capturing white, help please !

    If you want a very cheap gray card that you can practically use, go to any hardware store near you and buy a spray can of gray paint. Apply about 8 coatings on a hard white cardboard and voila - you now have a gray card! It's not totally accurate but you'll definitely improve on your exposures if you use it. I'm actually using one most of the time and based on the histogram I need to apply a +0.3EV to nail it right (the compensation was needed because of the grayness of the paint). So, what I do, meter the gray card on manual, aperture, or shutter priority mode, then add +0.3EV on my exposure and I'm good to go.

  13. #13

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    Re: Capturing white, help please !

    Quote Originally Posted by mariejo View Post
    I don't use RAW, tends to take a lot of space on my memory and use a lot of my battery...will try it more...often...though...thanks so much !!!
    Shooting RAW will definately chew up more card space, but cards are cheap these days ... and it means you're retaining the maximum possible amout of information. JPEGs are optimised for small size, and one of the ways they do that is by throwing away a LOT of information ... unfortunately ... it's sometimes information that we need to recover the shot - you're examples of blown highlights are a great example of this.

    Personally I very seldom shoot ANYTHING other than RAW.

    PS: Shooting RAW shouldn't have any effect on battery life.

  14. #14

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    Re: Capturing white, help please !

    Just a couple of points, Marie Josee. If you shoot when correctly exposed for large areas of white your camera will turn that into a slight grey so a little positive exposure compensation is required to bring the area back to pure white.

    But, a word of warning. This can have an adverse effect on fine details such as feathers or fur, or even the faint texture lines on white flowers, etc.

    As a general rule, I prefer to err on the side of slight under exposure and recover any lost brightness during editing.

    With regard to bracketing shots. I normally have an idea as to what may be needed in the way of compensation so, when possible, I take a number of shots with different levels of compensation but set these manually.

    Auto bracketing usually takes one suggested settings shot plus one over and one under that level. Which means that one shot will always be wasted because it is 'going in the wrong direction'. Manual control means that I am always going the correct way and can vary the number of shots and level of compensation as I think best.

    And of course, when shooting Raw it is relatively easy to reset your White Balance to suit each individual shot.

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    Re: Capturing white, help please !

    thanks...!! I will definitly try all of those...and will post my ' trials' later on...and yes I'll Shoot in Raw...) I do have a high capacity card but I take tons of pictures ...haha!!!

  16. #16

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    Re: Capturing white, help please !

    I try to keep reviewing what I have just taken and ditch the 'no hopers' soon afterwards to make more card space, and reduce download/editing time.

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    Re: Capturing white, help please !

    MarieJo,

    If you shoot RAW and have Photoshop, you can use Photoshop and edit the RAW photo using the adjustment brush (K). This brush allows to change the exposure however you want it (best from -2EV to +2EV). An underexposed photo can be saved this way. An overexposed photo can not be saved...

    You can find a video tutorial by Gavin Hoey on how to use this brush on youtube

    Hope this helps,
    Dan

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