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Thread: Need help photographing black dog

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    Member mish13's Avatar
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    Need help photographing black dog

    As the title says I am having trouble getting one decent photo of one of my dogs.His colour is always really dull like it is over exposed or something, be gentle I am just learning.Would love some tips, thanks

    ISO 200, Minolta AF 50mm F2.8 Macro, F4 1/60

    ISO 200, Minolta AF 50mm F2.8 Macro, F4.5, 1/80
    My camera is a Sony A850

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    What photo editing software do you have? If we know this there are some knowledgeable people who can provide excellent guidance.
    Last edited by Briancd; 05-10-2011 at 5:08pm.
    Brian

    My two pet hates are male chauvanists and women who won't do as they are told

    Canon 60D - Canon 17-40mm f4 L USM - Canon 70 - 200mm F4 L IS USM - CANON 24-105MM f4 IS USM - Sigma EF-500 DG Super Flash - Lightroom 4.4 - Photo Elements 11 ****

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    I have Aperture 3, tried doing a photoshop course but didn't do too good and I don't have it at home. I also shoot in jpeg I know i should be sooting in Raw but I am not very good at editing so tend to use jpeg mostly.

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    Use the AP site search, type in 'Black Dogs', and you will get several threads that give guidance in this
    "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

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    You are over exposed, precisely.
    About TWO stops .

    You are using Pattern Metering. The camera’s Light Meter is seeing a big blob of Rich Black and is interpreting it as 18% Photo Grey. Hence you are Overexposed as the Camera is attempting to make the Dog: Grey and not Black.

    There are many methods to correct this:
    In “open EVEN shade – no shadows” which is the lighting scenario you had, one method is to meter off the green grass – that is about equivalent to 18% Photo Grey.

    Using the EV of the Scene as the guide (“Open Even Shade - No Shadows”) the typical correct exposure for that shot would be 4 or 5 stops open from EV15.
    EV15 is the Sunny F/16 rule: i.e. F/16 @ 1/200s @ ISO200
    Therefore for a correctly exposed Subject you should have pulled something like:
    F/4~F/2.8 @ 1/200s @ ISO200.

    On the top shot, you pulled: F/4 @ 1/60s @ ISO200, which is about two stops, over exposed.

    This is not something you should be correcting in post production.

    WW
    Last edited by William W; 05-10-2011 at 6:14pm.

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    Ricktas thanks for that tip I will go and do a search.

    William W, thank you for taking the time to write all that but a lot of it went straight over my head. WHat do you mean open Even shade? And using EV of the Scene as the guide?

    I put the camera on shutter priority and set it at 1/60th and let the camera do the rest.

    I have done a number of courses but still struggle when I get to a situation to know what I should set the camera at. Sorry if I seem dumb but there is so many variations to learn.
    I also don't do any post editing, another thing I find hard to grasp. Lots of my dog photos are blurry and I cant fix that in post editing.

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    Have you gone through the "New to photography" program here yet ?

    Suggest it very worthwhile
    Darren
    Gear : Nikon Goodness
    Website : http://www.peakactionimages.com
    Please support Precious Hearts
    Constructive Critique of my images always appreciated

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    Understood.
    I didn’t mean for the technical words, to go over your head.
    I have to cook dinner now.
    Back later.


    WW

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    Quote Originally Posted by kiwi View Post
    Have you gone through the "New to photography" program here yet ?

    Suggest it very worthwhile
    I will take a look now thanks

    Quote Originally Posted by William W View Post
    Understood.
    I didn’t mean for the technical words, to go over your head.
    I have to cook dinner now.
    Back later.


    WW
    Ok thanks

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    Administrator ricktas's Avatar
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    Do you know what the Histogram is and how you can display it on your LCD, and then interpret the histogram to adjust settings to improve your photos?

    Have a read here about histograms, get your camera manual out and work out how to make it show up on the LCD screen. Then use it to determine if you are over-exposed, under-exposed etc, and learn how to adjust your camera settings accordingly to get a good exposure.

    The histogram can be your best friend while learning this craft, as it instantly tells you if your photo is over or under-exposed. Learn to use it, and learn how to counteract the results if you do not have a good exposure. Not only will this help your dog photography, but your overall photography. A well exposed photo will have more impact than an over or under-exposed one, anyday.

    Now to help you along with the above. You can correct them (a bit) using a Levels Adjustment, in lightroom.

    Take your first photo, here is its histogram:

    histobefore.jpg
    Notice how the left side, the graph goes to the bottom before it reaches the very left edge. This shows that there are no true blacks in your photo, notice how the right side the graph is part way up the side at the very right end. This shows that part of your photo is pure white (over-exposed.

    histoafter.jpg
    A tweak with a levels adjustment can get the left side looking good, and almost up to the left edge (this gives you richer blacks). The over-exposed right edge is harder to fix, cause once a section of a photo is over-exposed (pure white) there is no detail left in those pixels to bring back, thus the right edge remains imperfect, and the photo will still appear over-exposed in parts.

    The idea is to get a full range from the bottom left corner, with a graph that goes up and across, then back down to touch in the bottom right corner. Doing this will give you a well exposed photo.

    Using the histogram to learn about exposure and effectively take well exposed shots will lead you on the path to being a better photographer.

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    Ricktas thats a great idea but looking at my camera I only seem to be able to display the histogram after I have taken the photo.
    It also displays all the colours separately.So I can play with the photo after I have taken it but not before.
    I am having a look through the New to Photography thread so I will also take a look at the histogram thread thanks

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    Explanation of what I wrote:

    Quote Originally Posted by William W View Post
    You are over exposed, precisely. About TWO stops . You are using Pattern Metering. The camera’s Light Meter is seeing a big blob of Rich Black and is interpreting it as 18% Photo Grey. Hence you are Overexposed as the Camera is attempting to make the Dog: Grey and not Black.
    The camera has a light meter in it. The light meter controls the Camera’s function when you are using Shutter Priority Mode, but the Light meter can miscalculate sometimes.
    In this case the light meter just sees a big black area, but the light meter (in Pattern Mode) is programmed to read the average of the scene and in doing so thinks that the scene averages out at a grey – but the dog is black – so the light meter which controls the camera, thinking the dog is grey, makes the shot Over Exposed.

    Quote Originally Posted by William W View Post
    There are many methods to correct this: In “open EVEN shade – no shadows” which is the lighting scenario you had, one method is to meter off the green grass – that is about equivalent to 18% Photo Grey.
    Here I was providing a method for a solution in the lighting conditions you had at the time. “Even Open Shade” just means the light is “even” (not dappled); you are outside = ”open”; and that you are in “shade” – now the shade could be form a tree or awning, or it could be from cloud cover. The point is I knew it was “even open shade” because there were NO shadows of the dog on the ground, and you were obviously outside, on grass.
    In “even open shade”, green grass is about the same as the “Grey” the camera light meter wants to evaluate – so I was just suggesting one method was to take the light meter reading off the grass (If using Shutter Priority mode, just pretend to shoot the grass and then lock that exposure), then refocus and reframe and shoot the dog.

    Quote Originally Posted by William W View Post
    Using the EV of the Scene as the guide (“Open Even Shade - No Shadows”) the typical correct exposure for that shot would be 4 or 5 stops open from EV15. EV15 is the Sunny F/16 rule: i.e. F/16 @ 1/200s @ ISO200. Therefore for a correctly exposed Subject you should have pulled something like: F/4~F/2.8 @ 1/200s @ ISO200.
    Here I am referring to the “EV of the Scene”.
    The “EV” is the “Exposure Value”.
    There are a range of Exposure Values which are directly linked to “Standard Lighting Scenes”.
    The most commonly known EV, is EV15.
    EV15 relates directly to the “F/16 Rule” which is sometimes referred to as the “Sunny F/16 Rule”.
    This F/16 rule says:
    “that for a Front Lit Subject by Bright Sunlight in a common Outdoor Setting between Two Hours After Sunrise and Two Hours Before sunset the correct exposure will be: F/16 @ 1/ISO @ ISO.”

    For example if we are using ISO200, then for a front lit sunlight scene of EV15, the exposure will be:
    F/16 @ 1/200s @ ISO200, and obviously any other combination which suits, for example, if we want a smaller DoF (Depth of Field) we could Open the Aperture& Shorten the Shutter Speed three stops each and pull: F/5.6 @ 1/1600s @ ISO200.
    EV and “Standard Lighting Scenes” were used (and still are used) when a Photographer does not have the use of a meter.

    I just used my knowledge and by looking at the scene of the top photo of the dog I concluded that it was “even open shade” and because there were specifically NO SHADOWS: that the scene was about EV11 (which is four EV less light than EV15) and therefore you should have been shooting that scene at about: F/4 @ 1/200s @ ISO200 (which is FOUR Aperture Stops Open from F/16 @ 1/200s @ ISO200).

    Quote Originally Posted by William W View Post
    This is not something you should be correcting in post production.
    Here I was so confident that the shot was indeed overexposed (as per the explanation above), that I wanted to make it clear that attempting to correct the underexposure in post production would be folly.
    There can be a reasonable fist made of a Post Production correction, but there will still be a lack of mid tone contrast and the Blacks will not be solid and most likely whilst “acceptable” a trained eye will likely pick the under-exposure at a good resolution, even with good post production.

    I have made a Post Production correction for illustration: do you allow me to post it?

    I trust this explains my previous comments, more fully.

    WW

    Post Script:
    The Histogram is displayed in your digital camera after you have taken the shot: YES.

    But upon interrogating the Histogram of the first shot, subsequent corrections can be made for the NEXT shot.

    This processes of taking digital Photos is referred to as “Chimping”.

    I thought the Sony displays FOUR Histograms – the top histogram is luminance and then underneath there are the THREE colours. I might be wrong, I am going from memory, a mate uses Sony gear.

    WW
    Last edited by William W; 06-10-2011 at 4:02pm. Reason: Added PS

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    Thanks WIlliam W some of that now makes sense but the Exposure Value is a lot to absorb. I will keep re-reading it until it sinks in.
    Now I need it to stop raining so I can go and put it into practise.

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    . . . the Exposure Value probably is NOT the best method for you to use at this moment in time to get your exposures correct.

    I was just explaining how I knew the shot was overexposed by looking at the scene and comparing EV of the scene with shooting specs that you used.


    Understanding how your camera's light meter works (and how to use it correctly in various situations) and understanding and using the digital tools at hand such as the Histogram are important.


    WW
    Last edited by William W; 06-10-2011 at 4:32pm.

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    ALso note your 2nd pic in particular is way back focused

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