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Thread: PP-ing really dark images

  1. #1

    Default PP-ing really dark images

    Hi guys,

    Was at the esplanade walking around and happened to stumble upon some dancers from Cambodia (for the dans festival i think)... and flash isnt allowed. not to mention the only flash i have is the built-in one.

    so needless to say, i got some pretty dark images, only reason why i'm not deleting them as of yet is because some of them are of the dancers smiling at the camera just for me.

    Anyone knows an optimal way to PP these really n00b images? I tried playing with the levels, brightness/contrast, lighting effects... But these just turn out too grainy.







    Thank you!
    Last edited by martellkr; 17th October 2010 at 05:02 PM.
    Canon 550D | EFS 18-55 IS | EFS 15-85 IS USM | EF 50 f/1.8 II

  2. #2
    Senior Member giantcanopy's Avatar
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    Default Re: PP-ing really dark images

    Hi martellkr, the pictures are too underexposed and any form of salvage will not give u an equivalent clean take with proper exposure, and it may not give you all the details from the shadows as desired

    If you have the raw file, try to see if you can lift some details from adjustment, but there will be a limit to how much you can retrieve as well.

    The graininess can do with abit of noise reduction with the trade off of smearing some details.

    Ryan
    Last edited by giantcanopy; 17th October 2010 at 05:06 PM.

  3. #3

    Default Re: PP-ing really dark images

    Thanks Ryan.

    Just another qn if I may, what would you do in this situation?
    The lighting's behind the subject, no flash allowed and you're on handheld.
    Canon 550D | EFS 18-55 IS | EFS 15-85 IS USM | EF 50 f/1.8 II

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    Member Buggy's Avatar
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    Default Re: PP-ing really dark images

    try playing with shadows/highlights option in ps, but as ryan mentioned.. there's a limitation.

    approach from another angle is the best bet, and if it permits.

  5. #5

    Default Re: PP-ing really dark images

    Quote Originally Posted by martellkr View Post
    Thanks Ryan.

    Just another qn if I may, what would you do in this situation?
    The lighting's behind the subject, no flash allowed and you're on handheld.
    shoot at ur highest ISO and do noise reduction during PP.
    I rather have a shot that is noisy, then one that can't be seen.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Override2Zion's Avatar
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    Default Re: PP-ing really dark images

    Quote Originally Posted by martellkr View Post
    Thanks Ryan.

    Just another qn if I may, what would you do in this situation?
    The lighting's behind the subject, no flash allowed and you're on handheld.
    Perhaps go High on the ISO, large on the aperture and maybe use a lens with VR/IS capability to improve your chances. If you really need to shoot under such circumstances, at least bring a tripod or monopod, it'll be of good help.
    Last edited by Override2Zion; 19th October 2010 at 03:53 PM.
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    Moderator daredevil123's Avatar
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    Default Re: PP-ing really dark images

    Quote Originally Posted by martellkr View Post
    Thanks Ryan.

    Just another qn if I may, what would you do in this situation?
    The lighting's behind the subject, no flash allowed and you're on handheld.
    On top of what others have mentioned, you have to play with your metering modes as well. You metered the entire scene I presume (by using evaluative or matrix). For your situation doing spot metering on the face of the subject, will expose the faces of the dancers properly. But do note that due to the dark subjects, the shutter speed may be long, which you have to counter with what the others mentioned here... larger aperture, higher ISO... etc etc etc...

  8. #8

    Default Re: PP-ing really dark images

    if shadow detail is gone, i.e. pure black is attained, then you won't be able to rescue.

    RAW will help by just a bit, perhaps a stop or so, but don't think it will create miracles here.

  9. #9

    Default Re: PP-ing really dark images

    I use linux's free apps

    Gimp with UFRAW.

    use UFRAW to increase the exposure first, then use GIMP to denoise and sharpen.

  10. #10
    Moderator daredevil123's Avatar
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    Default Re: PP-ing really dark images

    Quote Originally Posted by farbird View Post
    I use linux's free apps

    Gimp with UFRAW.

    use UFRAW to increase the exposure first, then use GIMP to denoise and sharpen.
    There is a limit to how much exposure you can bring up with a pleasing result.

  11. #11
    Deregistered allenleonhart's Avatar
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    Default Re: PP-ing really dark images

    what is not there, will not be there.
    what was there, but was wiped out, will not be there also.

    i doubt u can save the photos. sorry to say that

  12. #12

    Default Re: PP-ing really dark images

    I tried playing with your image in PP, but its too far down and no detail is retained in the dark areas.

    Next time try to just expose for the lit up areas. Very often we humans operate with ambient lighting that can still be captured on a camera. Its just the shadow areas that the camera gets fooled into thinking that it needs to expose for as well.
    High ISO and noise is better than no photo. At least with the former you can convert to B/W; do aggressive NR or add more grain and make it part of the effect.

  13. #13
    Member DrSpock's Avatar
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    Default Re: PP-ing really dark images

    From what I observe, even if flash is not allowed it can't be that dark for the normal eyes to see so it must be the settings on your cam that created the dark photos.

    What I'll do is (assuming you are using the kit lens) try achieve the 'slowest', most bearable SS possible (widest A and highest ISO) and ask the subject to keep still for 1 sec while you take your shot with hand/body resting on a solid stationary place.

    If all else not possible then go buy a f1.4 or 2.8 lens with VC/VR/IS/Etc on a monopod, nx time you'll get a perfect picture
    Photography? It's all in your mind...

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