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Thread: why are all my photos so dark?

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    why are all my photos so dark?

    Hi all,

    just a quick one. I usually shoot in av mode with my iso around 400, and white balance in auto mode, but all my photos seem to come out really dark, they look fine in camera but when i load them onto the cpu they are dark.
    any suggestions?

    my camera is a canon eos 400d and the lens i have been using lately is EFS 18-35mm.

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    Is your monitor calibrated?

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    What does the histogram reveal?

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    fallinghorse - i dont know how to do that with the laptop i am using at the moment.. still waiting for my own - using husbands for now

    Xenedis - I always forget to check, still learning.. not exactly sure how to read it but if there is lots on the left and not much on the right, it would explain why it is dark? (correct me if i am wrong please :S )

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    Quote Originally Posted by MBsa View Post
    Xenedis - I always forget to check, still learning.. not exactly sure how to read it but if there is lots on the left and not much on the right, it would explain why it is dark? (correct me if i am wrong please :S )
    Precisely.

    The histogram on the X-axis represents the tonal range of values (ie, light to dark) and on the Y-axis represents the number of pixels of a certain brightness or darkness.

    If you have 'mountains' of pixels clumped towards the left with very little on the right, this generally indicates under-exposure. There is less tonal range in the darker shades, and if you're losing detail in the shadows, this is also indicative of under-exposure.

    Note that there is no such thing as a 'perfect' histogram. if you are deliberately shooting low-key images or scenes in darkness, it's to be expected that more pixels will be dark than light.

    It would be best if you posted an image here so we could have a look at it and tell you if (and where) you're going wrong.

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    MBsa - I would calibrate my screen first (a spyder will cost you around $250) the difference you will see will probably be minor but at least you'll know you're looking at true colours.

    Open first in a RAW editor, I use ACR (Adobe Camera Raw) this is an essential step. Firstly you look at one of the loaded images and tweak the white balance and then play with the exposure, brightness and contrast sliders if desired. Any changes you make should generally be minor in terms of slider movement. ACR opens in this interface.

    Then go to the Camera Calibration interface (the camera icon) - Have a play with the camera profile attributes. The choices here will make dramatic changes to the image. Select the one you like the best, then if you notice too much red green or blue you can tweak these sliders, just a little. After getting one image how you like it, select the rest of the loaded images which were taken in the same lighting situation and click on synchronise.

    After this is done, go through each image (still in your RAW editor) and crop to suit.

    Now you get to do the real good stuff, go to graduated filters and apply, usually negative values beginning at edges. The purpose of this is to draw the eye to the subject and away from non subject areas. Then move to adjustment brushes - I usually apply positive values to area I want to stand out.

    After you've done this to all images you should be about done in your RAW Editor.

    Open all in PS. What I do here is then enlarge them to the original pixel size (if you had cropped them in your RAW editor) using a 1% action. If they are for printing convert to 300dpi, if for viewing on your monitor only convert them to 72dpi. Image pixel size is relative to dpi.

    I then do more magic on layers that are copies of the background with the purpose of making the image pop etc, save and print.

    That's about it - have fun. I hope this belated response has helped a tad.
    .
    Cheers, Mal

    crafthouse images - my Flickr

    Canon EOS 5DM3, 7D and a modest collection of "L" goodies

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    Great thread. All very useful comments. I like to show this link for people to understand the histogram:

    http://www.luminous-landscape.com/tu...stograms.shtml

    For me it is one of the greatest improvements over shooting with film: to be able to see straight after the shot whether there are clipped highlights or clipped dark areas.

    Thanks

    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC] my flickr page

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