User Tag List

Thanks useful information Thanks useful information:  4
Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 20 of 25

Thread: Silhouette Photography using natural light

  1. #1
    Site Rules Breach - Permanent Ban mandab99's Avatar
    Join Date
    17 Mar 2011
    Location
    Brisbane
    Posts
    141
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Silhouette Photography using natural light

    Hiya!

    Would love some advice on shooting some maternity silhouette shots. I do not have any lighting equipment besides good old house hold items eg- lamps and home made reflector. I was hoping to catch some shots of my soon to be mum standing in a doorway and also against a window. I have only just started learing about "metering"....finding it a little tough
    I know I must meter at my light source and have been practicing at a window with a toy as my subject. My images are either underexposed, and thats including the light source outside or they are overexposed with my subject NOT in silhouette.
    Can anyone please give me some much needed advice on how to acheive the perfect silhouette...any tips would be greatly apreciated!!!!

    Thank You
    Manda

  2. #2
    Administrator ricktas's Avatar
    Join Date
    24 Jun 2007
    Location
    Hobart
    Posts
    15,129
    Mentioned
    8 Post(s)
    Tagged
    1 Thread(s)
    You need a good light source, behind your subject, and you expose for the brightest part of the scene. You will find if you are using natural light you are better off taking shots early in the day, or later in the day, when the house is darker inside, and the sun is near the horizon and allow you to place the sun behind your subject. During the middle of the day, the light is to intense and even to get a good silhouette.

    Another trick is to make the room itself as dark as possible, so the ONLY light source is from behind your subject.
    "It is one thing to make a picture of what a person looks like, it is another thing to make a portrait of who they are" - Paul Caponigro

    Constructive Critique of my photographs is always appreciated
    Nikon, etc!

    RICK
    My Photography

  3. #3
    Member
    Join Date
    15 Dec 2009
    Location
    central west
    Posts
    933
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    wouldn't you meter for the bright light behind the subject so the actual subject is under exposed?
    Last edited by ricstew; 11-08-2011 at 8:31pm.

  4. #4
    Administrator ricktas's Avatar
    Join Date
    24 Jun 2007
    Location
    Hobart
    Posts
    15,129
    Mentioned
    8 Post(s)
    Tagged
    1 Thread(s)
    manda. just thought of something, what camera are you using and do you have auto ISO turned OFF? If auto ISO is on, the camera will be adjusting ISO to compensate for the dark scene its presented with. Maybe post a photo (with EXIF) and we can assist further.

  5. #5
    Site Rules Breach - Permanent Ban
    Threadstarter
    mandab99's Avatar
    Join Date
    17 Mar 2011
    Location
    Brisbane
    Posts
    141
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Thanks guys!...Rick I am using mainly AV mode or Manual mode and keeping my ISO to 100 and my aperture quite wide. Does this sound right to you?

  6. #6
    Perpetually Bewildered fillum's Avatar
    Join Date
    13 Sep 2009
    Location
    Sydney
    Posts
    1,119
    Mentioned
    1 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Hi Manda, what's important here is not the amount of light so much as the difference in light levels between the subject and the background. So following Rick's advice above will help to maximise this difference. When metering, the camera is going to try and give you a "good" exposure of whatever it is you are metering on. So if you meter on the dark subject the camera is going to try to brighten it to give what it calculates as a good exposure, and conversely if metering on the bright background the camera is likely to darken it.

    Perhaps try this - set your camera to manual exposure, then set your aperture to whatever gives the desired depth of field. Take a spot meter reading off the subject, then reduce the exposure by say 5 stops by increasing the shutter speed. So for example if the spot reading gives say 1/10 sec @ f/8, increase the shutter speed to 1/320 sec. Take a shot and see how you go - it might require a bit of trial-and-error with the shutter-speed to get the best result.

    It might turn out that you can't get the desired effect because there isn't enough difference in light levels between the subject and the background. In this case you might need to resort to post-processing to finish the image. It would be better to get the background exposure correct in camera and then darken the subject in PP.

    Hope this helps...


    Cheers.
    Last edited by fillum; 13-08-2011 at 1:46pm.
    Phil.

    Some Nikon stuff. I shoot Mirrorless and Mirrorlessless.


  7. #7
    A royal pain in the bum! arthurking83's Avatar
    Join Date
    04 Jun 2006
    Location
    the worst house, in the best street
    Posts
    7,701
    Mentioned
    2 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    The [program]mode itself is completely irrelevant! Whether you use Auto, Manual, Aperture or Shutter priority, your metering mode and use of (ie, understanding of) will make all the difference.
    Actually, and depending on your camera, use of Auto may not achieve what you want anyhow. I know that some camera's idea of Auto, is to be fully Auto to the point of completely ignoring any operator input at all(Nikon D7000 seems to do this! )

    So(to help anyone else trying to help) what camera are you using?
    The camera, both make and model is important and may require different methods of setting up to achieve the desired result.

    eg. Take two Nikon cameras(DSLRs). If you use a more simple D40, or whatever, with only the 3 point metering/focusing system, you are limited to using only three points when using either spot or centre weighted metering. If you have a D300, then you have access to 51 points to meter from. This will make a massive difference to the available options you have for metering.

    It would be highly recommended not to use Matrix(or Evaluative) Metering, as this is a more general method of metering, and measures the entire scene to effect the exposure.
    What you want(or seem to be wanting) to do is to specifically create a perception of either a dark exposure in one area, whilst maintaining a brighter exposure in another area. Using Matrix Metering will have the camera trying to create a best of both worlds metering blend.
    I think Rick said, make sure that Auto ISO is turned off, and that other features such as Dynamic Scene Exposure, Exaggerated Exposure Elongation, or Active D-Lighting.... or whatever other trickery the camera has as a feature, is turned off.
    Dimly lit room and subject against the window(looking outside), and your camera is set to Spot Metering:

    To start with, you want two meter readings(remember spot metering only) Take a reading of the outside lighting. say for example this may be (at f/5.6) 1/500s. ISO is not going to enter into the equation for now, and we'll use the variables of shutter and aperture only.
    Now place the subject in the frame too, making sure that the subjects size is bigger than the size of the focus area in the viewfinder. If the subject is a teeny weeny ant, the spot meter is still going to read the outside light as the ant isn't really filling the metering area enough to get a correct exposure reading. If the subject is large enough to fill the area that does the metering(this is why you're using spot metering and not centre weighted or matrix), you should see a totally different shutter speed requirement .. maybe something like 1/50s, hopefully more like 1/15s, 1/20s tops!

    Now note: all this is doing is to establish the total exposure in the scene, or the dynamic range that the scene has to offer.
    if you want a black silhouette against a bright background, then you want a higher dynamic range. That is, a bigger difference between the bright spot and the dark spot.

    Also note: the reading you're getting is for a neutral exposure in each scene, so the shutter speeds indicated are not truly indicative of what you really want. For a bright background, instead of simply allowing the camera to read this 1/500s at f/5.6, you now want to set the exposure compensation requirement to +2(maybe +3) and meter that outside lighting value again.
    Now the shutter will read a more accurate exposure value that you seem to want. This may be more like 1/125s. If you shoot at (the same aperture), 1/125s vs 1/500s, it's obvious that the outside ambient at 1/500 is going to be more grey, or neutral than it will be at 1/125s. With the addition of exposure compensation, you are now telling the camera to give you a meter reading where you want the whites to be white(and not grey, as the camera is assuming!) tell it what you want to tell you and it will not lie to you any more. But to do this you need to understand how the metering is working.

    Ok so now we have a more white white, and that you need 1/125s for that. So to get the darks as a black rendition, you need to do the opposite for the subject. it's important to have the subject in the location required as the amount of light falling on it is important(to be consistent!) for the sake of accuracy. ie. no use trying to get a meter reading of it in the cellar. What's going to be the important factor is how much light is falling on it in the room, and can this light be eliminated?

    So what you want to do, is set the camera to -2Ev exposure compensation, and take a meter reading of the subject. In an opposing step to the background light reading, you've now told the camera to expose for a black point, and if this is working correctly(with a previous reading of 1/20s), the meter should now tell the camera that 1/80s is required at the same f/5.6 aperture.
    if you set the camera to [A] Aperture Priority(or Tv mode), then the camera will shoot the scene like this.

    After reading this far, hopefully you have a clearer understanding of what the metering system does, and how to best use it, because as I said earlier, the camera you're using has an importance in the equation.

    Lets go back to the D40 situation(and note that I'm only using Nikon examples as I know how they work.. simply that I have zero experience with other makes and models)
    If it only has 3 points to focus with, then it only has three points to meter with. So, if you place your subject in the window, and you want to use the outside light to meter off, then you have to be sure to frame so that the spot metre/focus point is only seeing this daylight.
    As the D300 has a lot more points to focus/meter from, it make far less difference on how you set up the scene, as there is more than likely to be a free focus point to set on the background light.

    So if you want to take a reading from the background light be sure to add +ve exposure compensation. That is tell the camera that this area is not actually grey,and that it should be white. It's that simple.
    If you find that your camera doesn't allow for an option to meter from the background light with the framing you had your heart set on, don't despair. It's still as simple as before with the added inconvenience that you need to understand exposure values and take a simple reading beforehand on the background light!
    So with your D40, and it's 3 points that are all placed on the subject, you simply set the exposure compensation to -2Ev. (note this is a random value I conjured up, and you can set it to anything you prefer. try -1 through to -2 and see which one works best for you and your gear(this can be important later on in PP).
    Take a quick reference meter reading of the background to establish a lowest shutter speed (or in technical terms Ev reading) to use a reference point only. Remember this value irrespective of aperture value chosen, an Ev value is an Ev value. There is an Ev value table somewhere available on the net, but your camera's controls are as good a guide as any other point of reference.
    Now you are setting the subject o be exposed darkly with very little detail(ie. black), and the camera is telling you that you need 1/125s to do so! Perfect! and the world keeps on keeping on

    But what if the -2Ev subject exposure is telling you that you need 1/500 for it to be black? This is bad, because if you remember, 1/500s was going to give you a neutral background and you need 1/125s for a bright white background. In a situation like, or similar to this, you have too much light on the subject. If in a room, then close all doors, windows, blinds, and internal lighting. in my experience, this is close to impossible to achieve anyhow, but your house(or room) may be really really open plan, with those large windows and doors that real estate vendors just love to pieces, and allow so much light in. Well you need to move into a darker room, or cut the light out in some other manner.

    Sorry for the long post! It needed to be done. First of all for the sake of clarity, in how a meter is working within the camera, and how to work it correctly, and also for the simple fact that there are so many different cameras that require different methods of setting up.
    Also(as I understand it) if you have a particular Canon model(s), the spot meter reading is only done on the central focus point. Again whether this is good or bad is not the point, but it's different to how Nikon's work, where they all spot meter from the same point as you would use to focus with.
    So with me telling you to do this and that, with no knowledge of the camera you have, is futile, as I know how to set you up for a Nikon.

    Funny thing! The easiest way to get your answer is to simply post an example of the image you're trying to achieve and (make sure that all exif is intact) and we can recommend a more appropriate camera setting, and or lighting setup .. But doing this doesn't help you to understand how a camera meter system works, and how to do it all on your own.
    I still reckon to post up a sample image tho.. it gives us some more info to work with, to help you.
    What makes it even more interesting is that if you can't get the exact balance you want straight off the camera, post processing is also an option you want to look into. But, and once again for the benefit of better understanding, always try to get it as right in the camera as you possibly can and use PP for minimalist touching up, tweaking.

    Hope this helps
    Nikon D800E, D300, D70s
    {Nikon} -> 50/1.2 : 500/8(CPU'd) : 105/2.8VR Micro : 180/2.8ais : 105mm f/1.8ais : 24mm/2ais
    {Sigma}; ->10-20/4-5.6 : 50/1.4 : 12-24/4.5-5.6II : 150-600mm|S
    {Tamron}; -> 17-50/2.8 : 28-75/2.8 : 70-200/2.8 : 300/2.8 SP MF : 24-70/2.8VC


  8. #8
    Site Rules Breach - Permanent Ban
    Threadstarter
    mandab99's Avatar
    Join Date
    17 Mar 2011
    Location
    Brisbane
    Posts
    141
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Thank you Rick, Ric, Fillum and especially Arthur for taking the time to explain a few things. Arthur you have shed a lot of light on this subject for me, as I was studying metering & the use of the grey card etc and you have educated me just that little bit more
    Now I own a canon 550d and have been playing around with the metering modes and did in fact think that spot metering would be the best option for my silhouette shoot. I will now take all your wonderful advice and try and get some practice in before my shoot this weekend. I will practice with doll or something and post my best practice result for your much appreciated CC'ing. Thank you again!

  9. #9
    Site Rules Breach - Permanent Ban
    Threadstarter
    mandab99's Avatar
    Join Date
    17 Mar 2011
    Location
    Brisbane
    Posts
    141
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Hello again!
    My maternity shoot for my cousin had to be rescheduled due to sickness. Hopefully it will be this weekend. In the mean time I done some practice on acheiving a silhouette image and just wanted to share what I came up with. I started practicing at around 3:00pm with no luck at all. No matter what settings and compensation I used I just could not acheive a silhouette. My subject was always overexposed or both subject and background underexposed. I now realise this was due to a insufficient difference in light levels between my subject and background. It wasnt until a few hours later at around 5:30pm when it was much darker inside my home that I was able to create the silhouette I wanted. Below is just a practice image I wanted to share and of course get your valuable cc'ing. The exif info as follows (dont know how to include this in the photo?)
    Shooting mode - AV
    SS - 1/80
    AV - f/2.2
    Metering Mode - spot metering
    Exposure Compensation - 5+
    ISO - 200
    Lens - 50mm 1.8

    Last edited by mandab99; 23-08-2011 at 11:37pm.

  10. #10
    Fuji Fanatic
    Join Date
    20 Mar 2008
    Location
    Glenorchy
    Posts
    4,040
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by mandab99 View Post
    Hello again!
    My maternity shoot for my cousin had to be rescheduled due to sickness. Hopefully it will be this weekend. In the mean time I done some practice on acheiving a silhouette image and just wanted to share what I came up with. I started practicing at around 3:00pm with no luck at all. No matter what settings and compensation I used I just could not acheive a silhouette. My subject was always overexposed or both subject and background underexposed. I now realise this was due to a insufficient difference in light levels between my subject and background. It wasnt until a few hours later at around 5:30pm when it was much darker inside my home that I was able to create the silhouette I wanted. Below is just a practice image I wanted to share and of course get your valuable cc'ing. The exif info as follows (dont know how to include this in the photo?)
    Shooting mode - AV
    SS - 1/80
    AV - f/2.2
    Metering Mode - spot metering
    Exposure Compensation - 5+
    ISO - 200
    Lens - 50mm 1.8

    You are certainly on the right track, but I think a little more shutter speed as the outside is still very underexposed. Of course, this is just MY opinion.

    For bright sunlight, which is what this looks to be, I would have gone for maybe f5.6 to f8 and 1/125 to 1/250 or even (maybe) as high as 1/500. Are you shooting in Manual or Av? You will be best off in Manual mode.

    Otherwise, good work.
    Odille

    “Can't keep my eyes from the circling sky”

    My Blog | Canon 1DsMkII | 60D | Tokina 20-35mm f/2.8 AF AT-X PRO | EF50mm f/1.8| Sigma 150-500mm F5-6.3 APO DG OS HSM | Fujifilm X-T1 & X-M1 | Fujinon XC 16-50mm F3.5-5.6 OIS | Fujinon XC 50-230mm F3.5-5.6 OIS | Fujinon XF 18-55mm F2.8-4R LM OIS | tripods, flashes, filters etc ||

  11. #11
    Site Rules Breach - Permanent Ban
    Threadstarter
    mandab99's Avatar
    Join Date
    17 Mar 2011
    Location
    Brisbane
    Posts
    141
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Thanks Odille, will have another practice and try those settings.
    Just a quick question, you said the outside background looked to be underexposed but suggested a faster shutter speed and smaller aperture. Wouldnt this underexpose more as its letting less light in?

    Thanks again!
    Last edited by mandab99; 24-08-2011 at 8:37am.

  12. #12
    Member shakes's Avatar
    Join Date
    10 Jun 2010
    Location
    northcote
    Posts
    67
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I live in a unit and our natural light is low, as well as tight on space. When my partner was pregnant I got the best results from hanging a white sheet up and used spots reflecting off the sheet. We did get uneven light and creases from the sheet, catered for this by wrapping my partner in a white saran and it made the picture flow alot more.

    I got my best results at around f8, iso100 and 1/125 they gave me a nice silhouette but also some light facial features, that "happy maternal smile" expecting mums get when they rub their belly is a magical thing.

  13. #13
    Ausphotography Regular
    Join Date
    04 Aug 2011
    Location
    Sydney
    Posts
    793
    Mentioned
    1 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by mandab99 View Post
    My maternity shoot for my cousin had to be rescheduled due to sickness. Hopefully it will be this weekend. In the mean time I done some practice on acheiving a silhouette image and just wanted to share what I came up with. I started practicing at around 3:00pm with no luck at all. No matter what settings and compensation I used I just could not acheive a silhouette. My subject was always overexposed or both subject and background underexposed. I now realise this was due to a insufficient difference in light levels between my subject and background. It wasnt until a few hours later at around 5:30pm when it was much darker inside my home that I was able to create the silhouette I wanted. Below is just a practice image I wanted to share and of course get your valuable cc'ing. The exif info as follows (dont know how to include this in the photo?)


    I would take a more simple approach to the shoot and just make the light suitable for the shoot.

    You really only need about 5 stops difference between the background and the subject in shadow to create an effective silhouette: also it assists if the background (and backlighting) is diffuse. The time of day should not be an impairment, if you control the light. Also I would take a much more simple approach to all this metering and exposure compensation business. Just take a meter reading of the background scene – in fact in many circumstances you need not do that if the background is diffused outdoor daylight / window light – it will be about F/8~F/11 @ 1/200 @ ISO200. So just expose for the background, frame the shot and shoot.



    Sample exercise, taken about an hour ago 1300hrsEST.

    I have a broad backlit window light, diffused with shear curtains.
    I metered the diffuse outdoor scene (through the curtains) and it gave: F/5 @ 1/800s @ ISO400.
    (Note that exposure equals F/7 @ 1/200s @ ISO200 – so the guideline for window light is not too far out. The EV through the window was a bit less than “typical”, because it is winter and I have a little cloud cover.)

    I chose F/5 because I was using an 85mm lens at close range and I wanted a shallow DoF.
    Having made my reading for the background light, I focused, locked focus and framed the silhouette and made this:

    F/5 @ 1/800s @ ISO400


    Obviously if this were an important shoot we would do a test shot and tweak the exposure up or down a third or two for more of less detail of the subject and background, as required, but the point is, it is all about getting the lighting correct in the first place, – for a silhouette all we need to meter and get correct is the background – that’s what defines “a silhouette”

    ***

    If you want to add a touch of detail to the shadow of the subject, then that is usually best achieved by using a REFLECTOR (yes yes I know fill flash can do it too, but we are discussing the KISS version).

    Reflectors come in all shapes and sizes and if they are big, you might need an helper to hold, but if the reflectors are small enough sometimes you can balance one and hold the other and shoot one handed:



    Here is the result of using those two reflectors, hopefully the Low Res JPEG upload and your screen shows the subtle difference I see on my studio monitor:

    F/5 @ 1/800s @ ISO400

    ***

    As mentioned, it is all about controlling the light and getting about 5 stops difference between the shadow and trhe background.

    FYI here is the shot (no relectors) exposed correctly for the shadow side detail, note the exposure specs - that's 4⅓ stops difference, which is pretty close to 5 stops we originally required for a good silhouette.**

    F/5 @ 1/40s @ ISO400

    All the samples are JPEGS SOOC and only resized for uploadhere.

    (**)Note that the 5 stops diffenerce mentioned, relates to Digital - Film is a different kettle of kippers.

    WW
    Last edited by William W; 26-08-2011 at 1:35pm.

  14. #14
    Ausphotography Regular
    Join Date
    04 Aug 2011
    Location
    Sydney
    Posts
    793
    Mentioned
    1 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by arthurking83 View Post
    The [program] mode itself is completely irrelevant! Whether you use Auto, Manual, Aperture or Shutter priority, your metering mode and use of (ie, understanding of) will make all the difference.
    Actually, and depending on your camera, use of Auto may not achieve what you want anyhow. I know that some camera's idea of Auto, is to be fully Auto to the point of completely ignoring any operator input at all
    The OP has since revealed a Canon Camera.

    But, as you used the confused icon regarding the Nikon D7000 and also as you mentioned “Auto” in the same sentence with “Manual, Aperture or Shutter priority” it occurs to me that you might be confusing / misnaming “Program Mode” for “Auto Mode”.

    These are two completely different camera shooting modes.
    There is a recent thread, (REF Posts #14 & #18), where this is mentioned in more detail, it refers to a Canon camera, but Nikon is very, very similar.

    ***

    Quote Originally Posted by arthurking83 View Post
    (Nikon D7000 seems to do this! )
    Specifically, as I assume you own a D7000:

    I understand that on a Nikon D7000 the functionalities are similar to the Canon Cameras when comparing the Nikon “P” Mode (which is “Program Auto”) to the Nikon "Auto Mode" (which has the Camera Icon and the word “AUTO”).

    Also, in P Mode, Nikon offer “Flexible Program” which is akin to Canon’s “Program Shift”.

    Similarly, in Nikon’s “P” Mode: there is the choice of Metering and also Exposure Compensation and many other functions, which are NOT available in AUTO mode.

    WW
    Last edited by William W; 26-08-2011 at 1:48pm.

  15. #15
    Site Rules Breach - Permanent Ban
    Threadstarter
    mandab99's Avatar
    Join Date
    17 Mar 2011
    Location
    Brisbane
    Posts
    141
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Thank you so much William W for all your wondeful advice and photos to go a long with it all!!!!
    I now have more to think about and practice.
    Thanks again
    Manda

  16. #16
    Fuji Fanatic
    Join Date
    20 Mar 2008
    Location
    Glenorchy
    Posts
    4,040
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by mandab99 View Post
    Thanks Odille, will have another practice and try those settings.
    Just a quick question, you said the outside background looked to be underexposed but suggested a faster shutter speed and smaller aperture. Wouldnt this underexpose more as its letting less light in?

    Thanks again!
    I meant over exposed, of course - just put it down to old timer's disease. I call my right left and vice versa too.

  17. #17
    A royal pain in the bum! arthurking83's Avatar
    Join Date
    04 Jun 2006
    Location
    the worst house, in the best street
    Posts
    7,701
    Mentioned
    2 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by William W View Post
    .....

    But, as you used the confused icon regarding the Nikon D7000 and also as you mentioned “Auto” in the same sentence with “Manual, Aperture or Shutter priority” it occurs to me that you might be confusing / misnaming “Program Mode” for “Auto Mode”.

    .....
    Nope, in fact far from it.

    All I said(or at least I think I said) is that the mode(or program mode) that is used is completely irrelevant.

    I'm pretty sure I have a clear and concise understanding of the different modes available on the cameras that I've had the opportunity to use.
    (except the confounding Program mode that seems to make absolutely no sense in any way.. but this is not the point.).

    I was simply making the point to the OP that the mode that they've used is of no consequence(other than a few operational differences in the camera).

    Where the OP claimed that they tried different modes of operation, my reply was more about the consequences of using the different shootiung modes, not the modes themselves.

    I don't have the D7000, but have used it for long enough to know that it's idea of an Auto mode, or a Programmed scene mode(as opposed to [P] mode) is that you have no control over the operation of it.. whereas with the old D70s, that I do have, even in this mode, you at least have some control over the camera.

    I remember standing there scratching my head in disbelief wondering how to make a simple change of some kind on the D7000(with Andrew.. I@M) standing right beside me asking if I knew how too!!.

    had us completely stumped, in that in Landscape mode, the camera chose x aperture and y shutter speed, with z ISO.. where the only value I remember(in disbelief) was the ISO800 or so for z!! In Landscape mode, the other two seemed normal enough.
    Note I expected the flash to also pop itself up too .. just to be sure

    Nope! You can be pretty well rest assured that (apart from the technical incompetence of the programmers that wrote the parameters of the programmed modes themselves) I have more than enough understanding of the different modes available.

    What I can't understand, if you recommend that the OP disregard the simple and basic principles of metering the various parts of the scene, which is what I was initially claiming is the most fundamental aspect to their question, how are they to understand the dynamic range in the scene.

    Of course your reply has been subsequently edited so that this is now a non issue, but I'm wondering by what method you could come to the conclusion that there is 5 stops of range available?

    if your method is to simply take two sample images and then compare, then this is hardly the ideal solution to a simple metering process.
    The process I described is not intricate nor difficult to understand, and being able to see and do this in a rapid manner is a vital part of understanding photography.
    Simply taking a couple of reference images and then comparing Ev values is not ideal. It's a workable solution when time is not critical, but definitely not ideal.

    of course the correct procedure would have been to use an external meter, but with a meter already available in the camera, and the fact that the shoot doesn't appear to be a critical work related situation, the camera's meter is more than appropriate.

    My priority is simple. Help people to help themselves. Give them enough info to work with so that they better understand their tools(at a basic level). From this they then go forth and develop this understanding to another level of their choosing.

    The other aspect I found strange is the use of the curtain material to diffuse the outside lighting!

    The OP wanted a silhouetted scene, where the extremities of exposure are made within the one scene, and by introducing a diffuser to the highlight range, you are eliminating this condition with the use of the curtain!
    I'm curious as to why, when the OP wants a white out background and a black subject, possibly with a frame of some kind(doorway or window sill).

    FWIW, mandab99, the best approach is to capture the scene as best as you can via the camera, and if this means using what you have at your disposal such as household lights, lamps, dark drapes, etc, then do so 'as best as you can.
    What's also important is that you shoot in raw format, and then have a very good grasp of the post processing ability of your software.

    Once you have captured the scene to the best of your's and your camera's ability, then you use PP to finalise it all.

    Depending on your software, you may have a white point and black point tool, use this to create highlights and shadows. Also note that a simple camera related setting such as Vivid picture style with a boost in contrast may also help too.

    It's better not to get too seriously involved in the post processing workflow so as to not add more confusion, but to achieve a lot of what you desire, your PP is going to be vital.

  18. #18
    Ausphotography Regular
    Join Date
    04 Aug 2011
    Location
    Sydney
    Posts
    793
    Mentioned
    1 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by William W View Post
    . . . But, as you used the confused icon regarding the Nikon D7000 and also as you mentioned “Auto” in the same sentence with “Manual, Aperture or Shutter priority” it occurs to me that you might be confusing / misnaming “Program Mode” for “Auto Mode”. WW
    +
    Quote Originally Posted by arthurking83 View Post
    Nope, in fact far from it. All I said (or at least I think I said) is that the mode (or program mode) that is used is completely irrelevant. I'm pretty sure I have a clear and concise understanding of the different modes available on the cameras that I've had the opportunity to use. (except the confounding Program mode that seems to make absolutely no sense in any way.. but this is not the point.). I was simply making the point to the OP that the mode that they've used is of no consequence(other than a few operational differences in the camera) . . . etc. .
    That’s good you have a concise understanding of all the Camera Modes.
    I merely responded, off topic and in a separate response, answering what I considered to be a possible meaning of your use of the confused icon.
    The confused icon attracted my attention.
    I anticipated that a response might assist in relieving some of the confusion that you indicated.

    ***

    Re your not understanding my response to the OP’s questions, point by point answers might be best to assist you:

    Quote Originally Posted by arthurking83 View Post
    What I can't understand, if you recommend that the OP disregard the simple and basic principles of metering the various parts of the scene, which is what I was initially claiming is the most fundamental aspect to their question, how are they to understand the dynamic range in the scene.
    I cannot read where I suggested the OP disregard metering various parts of the scene.
    However I did suggest for the OP to take a much more simple approach to the metering and the exposure compensations – in fact I underlined and bolded and italicized that phrase in the OP’s post, to ensure the OP understood I was referencing it.


    Quote Originally Posted by arthurking83 View Post
    Of course your reply has been subsequently edited so that this is now a non issue,
    My response to the OP was made at 2:31pm and edited at 2:35pm.
    I believe on reading it in full, I made a couple of grammatical changes which reflected clarity in answering the OP’s question: I expect that’s what the edit function is for - to make the text clearer.


    Quote Originally Posted by arthurking83 View Post
    but I'm wondering by what method you could come to the conclusion that there is 5 stops of range available?
    In the working sample provided there is actually 4⅓ stops difference between the EV of the background and the illumination of the shadow side of the toy.
    That’s indicated by the exposure of the two sample JPEGS provided.
    I came to the conclusion of that difference by using the camera’s TTL meter. I metered the shadow side of the toy and I metered the diffused light through the curtain.
    I would expect that was self evident: having provided the JPEGS and the shooting specs.
    I also mentioned that this falls short of the 5 stops I was ideally seeking – but 4⅓ stops difference is “OK” for a silhouette.
    I assumed you were referring to that EV difference when you wrote “5 stops of range”: there is more than 5 stops of (dynamic) range in the image

    ***

    Quote Originally Posted by arthurking83 View Post
    if your method is to simply take two sample images and then compare, then this is hardly the ideal solution to a simple metering process.
    In no manner of fashion did I take two sample images.
    I made one shot - the silhouette, which is the first image in my post.
    I have no idea where you get the idea that I took two images and compared them.
    I took the last image to show the EV difference, I took the second image to show the reflectors I used and I took the third image to show the result of using those reflectors.

    ***

    Quote Originally Posted by arthurking83 View Post
    The process I described is not intricate nor difficult to understand, and being able to see and do this in a rapid manner is a vital part of understanding photography.
    I made no comment whatsoever on your process or the rapidity necessary.
    I didn’t even read the process you described - I still haven't read it: why would I necessarily read what you wrote? I was answering the OP's question.

    As mentioned, your use of the confused icon attracted my attention and I addressed that in a separate post.

    ***

    Quote Originally Posted by arthurking83 View Post
    Simply taking a couple of reference images and then comparing Ev values is not ideal. It's a workable solution when time is not critical, but definitely not ideal.
    I have absolutely NO idea what you are writing about: I have taken NO two reference images and compared them – I made the last image to SHOW that there was 4⅓ stops difference.

    ***

    Quote Originally Posted by arthurking83 View Post
    of course the correct procedure would have been to use an external meter, but with a meter already available in the camera, and the fact that the shoot doesn't appear to be a critical work related situation, the camera's meter is more than appropriate.
    Well if that is your opinion, fine. My TTL meters are very accurate however.

    ***

    Quote Originally Posted by arthurking83 View Post
    My priority is simple. Help people to help themselves. Give them enough info to work with so that they better understand their tools(at a basic level). From this they then go forth and develop this understanding to another level of their choosing.
    Fine, if that is your priority – I have no idea why it is mentioned here, however.

    ***

    Quote Originally Posted by arthurking83 View Post
    The other aspect I found strange is the use of the curtain material to diffuse the outside lighting! The OP wanted a silhouetted scene, where the extremities of exposure are made within the one scene, and by introducing a diffuser to the highlight range, you are eliminating this condition with the use of the curtain! I'm curious as to why, when the OP wants a white out background and a black subject, possibly with a frame of some kind(doorway or window sill).
    Firstly the curtain was there and I used it.
    Secondly there was about 5 stops difference and that is all I needed to made the silhouette – the fact that there was a curtain matters not.
    It is plainly obvious from the first shot I made and posted: that I made a silhouette, in one shot
    Thirdly, (and most importantly), no where does the OP request that the background be white out (blown out) – all the OP required, was a silhouette.


    Thank your questions and I trust I have answered them and straightened out your confusion and lack of understanding.
    However these "questions" could be interpreted to verge on a detailed, yet unsolicited critique of my response to the OP’s question.
    Do you request a critique of the methods you have described here?


    WW

  19. #19
    A royal pain in the bum! arthurking83's Avatar
    Join Date
    04 Jun 2006
    Location
    the worst house, in the best street
    Posts
    7,701
    Mentioned
    2 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by William W View Post
    ....
    Thirdly, (and most importantly), no where does the OP request that the background be white out (blown out) – all the OP required, was a silhouette.
    Quote Originally Posted by mandab99 View Post
    ...... My images are either underexposed, and thats including the light source outside or they are overexposed with my subject NOT in silhouette.
    ......
    Manda
    I'm assuming from this implication this is partially what the OP is requesting.
    From the OP's cat images, I'm assuming that they're looking for a wider dynamic range in the scene, similar to what you'll get in a high key attempt.


    Quote Originally Posted by William W View Post
    .... Thank your questions and I trust I have answered them and straightened out your confusion and lack of understanding.
    However these "questions" could be interpreted to verge on a detailed, yet unsolicited critique of my response to the OP’s question.
    Do you request a critique of the methods you have described here?
    WW
    Part of the natural process of forums and replying to people's queries is that our advice is also open to scrutiny. If this doesn't sit well for you then maybe forums are not something you want to be a part of.
    I accept all critique of my replies, and if I have given misleading information in any way then it's more apropropriate that this situation is rectified, rather than to mislead the person seeking advice.

    In this case the topic is basically about metering, to suggest that the OP keeps all this metering stuff simple .....
    .... Also I would take a much more simple approach to all this metering and exposure compensation business....
    I feel is the wrong way to go about helping the OP to understand what the problem is.
    Just feeding the person with numbers based on guesswork is not really going to help the person asking the question to fully understand the concept of what all this simple metering stuff is actually doing.
    A part of understanding exposure is in using exposure compensation, and using it fluently and as as efficiently as possible.

    The question is(that I have) is how do you know that to get a silhouette, you need a 5 stop difference in light?
    Says who? If I'm a newbie to all this simple photography stuff, am I expected just to know this fact? .... and commit it to memory? I've read my camera manual twice now, and no where have I read this information about silhouette photography.
    Why is it 5 stops and not 4 or 3? ... or 10? Does a silhouetted image always require that there is approximately stops of 5 stops of light difference between shadow? Can it be more and if not, why not?

    The other side of this query is that whilst your sample images tend to show something along the lines of 5stops EV difference, the OP's cat images clearly shot a lot more. overexposed background and the silhouetted subject in full black, no detail visible at all. Your soft toy image still has some detail in it in the silhouetted version.
    To be honest, I would see this and simply think the photographer has simply not fully understood the metering of the scene.
    Accepted wisdom says that a silhouetted image usually contains no shadow detail at all in the darks, that is, close to or fully black. The brightness level of the background is not really as important other than the brighter it is(or more vivid) the more silhouetted the image appears(contrast). Close to white, or blown out background clearly is going to give the illusion of a better silhouette(as the cat image clearly displays).



    Quote Originally Posted by William W View Post
    .... I have absolutely NO idea what you are writing about: I have taken NO two reference images and compared them – I made the last image to SHOW that there was 4⅓ stops difference.
    As for my comment about taking test shots and comparing them to determine exposure range, you said this in your original reply;

    " .... Obviously if this were an important shoot we would do a test shot and tweak the exposure up or down a third or two for more of less detail of the subject and background, as required, .... "

    In preference to helping the OP understand the metering capability of the camera(to the point of having complete control over it) your advise is to simplify the issue by taking test shots and tweaking the exposure up or down here and there.
    Hardly ideal if the shot is important!
    If I were the subject matter in this shoot I'd have wondered off after the second shot! If the shot is important, you generally try to get it done in one!

    Considering that the OP's subject matter is based on a human subject, and not a soft toy, I'm assuming that the subject is not really going to enjoy sitting for hours whilst the photographer takes a few reference shots to determine what constitutes a silhouette image.
    Soft toys sit as still as the photographer requires, pregnant women would probably prefer not to have too! Rapidity, whilst not actually asked for, nor a vital component of the shoot, is implied due to the nature of the OP's request.

  20. #20
    Ausphotography Regular
    Join Date
    04 Aug 2011
    Location
    Sydney
    Posts
    793
    Mentioned
    1 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Thanks for all the questions.

    Perhaps the best way to answer all of them, in really simple terms, is to control the light, which is what was first mentioned.

    If the light is controlled and the scene is prepped, when the pregnant lady arrives she will not be waiting around: so we will have “rapidity”.

    5 stops difference will give silhouette. That information is not in the camera manual: it is answering the OP’s question by drawing on about 35 years Portrait Photography experience – and has been shown in the example images, supplied to assist the OP.

    I don’t know the conventional wisdom about blowing out whites – but I do know conventional Portrait Photography does not blow whites, generally.

    WW

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •