blown highlights and color cast


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attap seed

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#1
blown highlights and color cast are generally thought to be undesirable (as in this pic).



but from a story telling point of view, i feel that, this is a decent pic.

my point is, things like color cast, limited dynamic range, converging verticals, tilted horizons, lens distortions etc are difficult or impossible to correct in the era of film.

with the coming of the digital era, all these flaws can be corrected relatively easily. if left undone, common critics will be in the form of "sloppy techniques" etc.

but when looking at pic in National Geographic, Time etc, we see pic with some or all of the mentioned flaws mentioned above all the time. and these are world class publications that pride themselves w showing the best pic.

in short, many photographers still treat digital like film. flaws can be corrected, but they choose to leave things as they are.

important is, the flaws dun discount the story tellin values of good pic at all (else, National Geographic would ve employed the best photo-technicians to PP all the pic).

so, are photographers placing too much emphasis on technical excellence, and ignoring real content? many times, we decided not to to press the shutter, cus of poor light or inherent flaws in the subject. but in the end, it is the recording of the moment as it is, that counts.
 

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ahbian

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#2
I agree with you that there is sometimes an overemphasis on having a "technically perfect" picture.

Then again, it depends on what type of photography we are talking about.

By my non-expert opinion, I don't view the "story-telling shots" (is photojournalism a better description?) or candids based on the technical details. At least not as much as compared to portrait and landscape shots.
 

night86mare

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#3
the pictures in nat geo, when they have "technical flaws" it is usually either there for a reason or they are limited by circumstances. given the most comfortable setting they usually produce something that is technically sound AND much more than the usual garden variety of photos you see on the internet.

re the picture here - the question is, could you have done it better? will it look better without the color cast or blown highlights? when you answer these questions then you'll see that technical demands are not that nitpicky after all.
 

ahbian

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#4
blown highlights and color cast are generally thought to be undesirable (as in this pic).

important is, the flaws dun discount the story tellin values of good pic at all (else, National Geographic would ve employed the best photo-technicians to PP all the pic).
I think this is a key factor, if the flaw is so jarring that it is the first thing the viewer notices instead of the message or that the message is lost, then yes, there should some correction done to it.
 

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attap seed

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#5
hi ahbian & night86mare,

how would u approach the pic posted above?

i feel that its value lies in recording a scene that is fast disapperaing in s'pore. in terms of difficulty or "advanced" technique, zero. jus as straightforward as a shot can go.

as for PP, from a conventional "wet" darkroom sense, i'd jus do some burning of the burned out part, esp area to the top left of the lady's head.

pls advise.
 

#6
hi ahbian & night86mare,

how would u approach the pic posted above?

i feel that its value lies in recording a scene that is fast disapperaing in s'pore. in terms of difficulty or "advanced" technique, zero. jus as straightforward as a shot can go.

as for PP, from a conventional "wet" darkroom sense, i'd jus do some burning of the burned out part, esp area to the top left of the lady's head.

pls advise.
I guess not all shots in Nat Geo are shot on digital, perhaps thats the reason why they are left as original? Digital photography is a result of advancing technology, the transition its like the era when the first cameras were introduced, people only had the option of painting to record their thoughts back then. First there were black & whites, then it progressed into colour and then eventually digital. Every transition opens up new possibilities, technical limitations as well as solutions. Not all photographs have to follow the so called "rules" though, whats most important is for its viewers to understand what it tries to convey. Just my thoughts.
 

night86mare

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hi ahbian & night86mare,

how would u approach the pic posted above?

i feel that its value lies in recording a scene that is fast disapperaing in s'pore. in terms of difficulty or "advanced" technique, zero. jus as straightforward as a shot can go.

as for PP, from a conventional "wet" darkroom sense, i'd jus do some burning of the burned out part, esp area to the top left of the lady's head.

pls advise.
it's a very easy solution

just do some fill flash, your background will be exposed properly, and your lady and little things will be lit up properly
 

attap seed

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#9
it's a very easy solution

just do some fill flash, your background will be exposed properly, and your lady and little things will be lit up properly


i am reluctant to use my pop up flash in restricted area w the fear of having harsh shadow.

u talking about bounce flash?

but in harsh lighting (outdoors), i find the pop up flash extremely useful to balance foreground and background.



 

attap seed

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#11
FIY, when photographers do a shoot for Nat Geo, they will bring back a few shoe boxes of slide, just to use a few photos.
tats precisely my point.

once read that a NG photo editor was surprised that a first time NG photographer "only" brought back 100 rolls of slide for a major assignment.

if from the thousands of slides shot by a world class photographer, the selected few still ve wat normal ppl consider as "flaws", are these flaws actually flaws/critical?

which raise another of my doubt, are photographers actually good critics of our own work? cus there are legendary photographers and legendary photo editors as well.
 

catchlights

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#12
before the photographer been sent or commissioned to cover the stories, he/she has already proven him/sheself is a competent photographer.

and they are to cover the whole story, with many different kind of subjects, in various angles, so the editors able choose what subject able to tell the story better, and what kind of photographic treatments work best, not just shooting a subject with same angle or same lighting, and it is not like bracketing from f2.8 to f22 kind of thing.

before the photographers hand the images to the editor, it has to been screen thru those unusable shots.
 

waileong

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#13
1. Colour cast on film can be corrected using the right filters at the printing stage. Of course, depends on how bad it is.

2. Limited dynamic range is not a problem with film, esp neg film, compared to digital, which has an even more limited dynamic range.

3. Anyway, you're right that there are a lot of nitpickers here who miss the woods for the trees. Who can only comment "messy hair", "over-PS", "don't chop off fingers", etc. but who don't see the big picture.

4. But more important are the photographers themselves, who let these nitpickers affect how they shoot.

blown highlights and color cast are generally thought to be undesirable (as in this pic).



but from a story telling point of view, i feel that, this is a decent pic.

my point is, things like color cast, limited dynamic range, converging verticals, tilted horizons, lens distortions etc are difficult or impossible to correct in the era of film.

important is, the flaws dun discount the story tellin values of good pic at all (else, National Geographic would ve employed the best photo-technicians to PP all the pic).

so, are photographers placing too much emphasis on technical excellence, and ignoring real content? many times, we decided not to to press the shutter, cus of poor light or inherent flaws in the subject. but in the end, it is the recording of the moment as it is, that counts.
 

Pokka

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#14
Speaking from a hobbyist point of view, I feel you shouldn't be too bogged down by other people's comments on technical issues. What matters is after you've taken the shot, do you like that shot?

We shoot purely as a hobby, not as a profession. As long as doing something makes you happy, go ahead and do it. You don't have to worry about how others will view your picture.

With regards to your picture, I am ok with the overexposed part at the top. My only concern is since you're shooting the puppets, the subject itself is probably abit under.

Just my 2 cents.
 

Octarine

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#15
i am reluctant to use my pop up flash in restricted area w the fear of having harsh shadow. u talking about bounce flash?
but in harsh lighting (outdoors), i find the pop up flash extremely useful to balance foreground and background.
night86mare recommended using fill flash. That can be done as bounce flash but can also be done as direct flash. Fill flash is used to brighten up the foreground, in your case it can even override the colour cast. Which means technically: you mix ambient light with flash light. In this case you cannot simply pop out the flash - that would give the harsh shadows that you fear. You need to blend both light sources by adjusting the flash output. Check your camera manual how you do Flash Exposure Compensation. Diffusers are also quite useful here, it will soften the direct flash light additionally. Either buy one or you DIY one. Easiest DIY is a paper tissue in front of the flash. Other ideas involve a white film roll, cut open to be put on the flash. Use Google for a search about "DIY flash diffuser".
As you have already noticed: in bright light conditions there is no need to use any compensation for fill flash, just fire the flash. The ambient light here is already bright enough to override any flash shadows.
Bounce flash describes a technique where you don't use flash in straight way but rather using walls and ceilings to bounce the flash light to make it soft. But your pop out flash cannot be tilted in such a way.
 

attap seed

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#16
many thanks for the feedbacks and opinions.

helped me see the issues discussed in a different light and discovered possible ways to improve my pic.

will keep shooting.
 

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