Have what I been doing the right thing?


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fi5hbone

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Jan 16, 2008
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#1
Hi there, I am pretty new to photography with an SLR and would appreciate any advice.

Exposure:
I am mostly in Aperture priority mode. In order for me to adjust exposures in harsh or dim lighting, I utilize the exposure compensation button to fix an exposure setting as opposed to switching to manual mode and adjusting from there.

I am just wonder if it is the right thing to do in order to fine tune exposures to create different sort of photographs?

Saturation:
To my knowledge, there are several ways of finetuning saturation in the photos. One is of course the lighting and the other being the white balance (unsure if terms are being used correctly in this sense). Sometimes, especially with dark skies (with little light), photos come out looking slightly less saturated than what I would like it to be. I have also read that overcast skies seem to bring out the best colors in photographs but I have yet to experience this as photographs for me seem to be the nicest in the sunset and sunrise where there is actually a bit of sun coming through the clouds.

Thus my question is, is there anything that I can do with the camera to increase the saturation of the photographs?

Hope it's not a mouthful for all. :)
 

ZerocoolAstra

Senior Member
Mar 13, 2008
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rainy Singapore
#2
I think it is safe to assume that all the DSLRs have a menu function to adjust the colour tone of "straight-out-of-camera JPEGs".
For the Nikons, there is Normal, Vivid, More Vivid, Soft, etc etc etc.

As for exposure, what you're doing is correct as well. It is not really necessary to leave it in aperture-priority unless you're trying to control the depth of field.

If you take landscape photographs against an overcast sky, it can make the colours seem more dramatic. For example the city skyline against an overcast sky. But i think overcast skies in temperature climates (eg Europe, America, Australia) are more interesting than in singapore. We tend to have a lot more of the rain clouds.
 

nigel84

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Mar 22, 2007
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#3
i would highly reccomend you to switch to manual mode instead of having it always in aperture piority, when you have time on your side. It would enable you to try styles much more differently....
 

dzignous

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Aug 10, 2006
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#4
Metering on a dull object like a rock will enable you to get better colors.
 

fi5hbone

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Jan 16, 2008
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#5
Thanks for all the inputs. However, I am unsure of what you are referring to Zerocool. Are those settings (normal, vivid, etc.) camera features?

Metering on a dull object like a rock will enable you to get better colors.
Why is that? Do you mean for photography in harsh lightings or overcast skies or?
 

dzignous

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Aug 10, 2006
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#6
Meter on a bright or colorful object will render the pic to be slightly darker and thus less saturation.
 

catchlights

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Sep 27, 2004
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#7
Metering on a dull object like a rock will enable you to get better colors.
Meter on a bright or colorful object will render the pic to be slightly darker and thus less saturation.
strange theory!

lets leave out the in camera saturation setting for now, the main reason for mute color are soft lighting, you will notice everything seem dull in a over cast day, and it will look for vivid on a sunny day.

secondly, you need to get correct exposure, color will look dull if you unexposed it, and turn pale if you overexposed it.
 

catchlights

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Staff member
Sep 27, 2004
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Punggol, Singapore
www.foto-u.com
#8
Hi there, I am pretty new to photography with an SLR and would appreciate any advice.

Exposure:
I am mostly in Aperture priority mode. In order for me to adjust exposures in harsh or dim lighting, I utilize the exposure compensation button to fix an exposure setting as opposed to switching to manual mode and adjusting from there.

I am just wonder if it is the right thing to do in order to fine tune exposures to create different sort of photographs?

Saturation:
To my knowledge, there are several ways of finetuning saturation in the photos. One is of course the lighting and the other being the white balance (unsure if terms are being used correctly in this sense). Sometimes, especially with dark skies (with little light), photos come out looking slightly less saturated than what I would like it to be. I have also read that overcast skies seem to bring out the best colors in photographs but I have yet to experience this as photographs for me seem to be the nicest in the sunset and sunrise where there is actually a bit of sun coming through the clouds.

Thus my question is, is there anything that I can do with the camera to increase the saturation of the photographs?

Hope it's not a mouthful for all. :)
if you only want to stick to auto exposure mode, you only have two ways to fine tune it,

#1, you have already done that.

#2, either use spot meter mode or center weighted meter mode plus zoom in, take meter reading from a particular part of the scene (a part which you want it be exposed as mid tone), and use AE lock to lock the exposure setting, recompose and make an exposure.
 

fi5hbone

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Jan 16, 2008
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#9
I have been experimenting a lot more with my D70 the past few days and I am on the verge of giving up! Shots outdoor or in places where light fills up the entire place are fine but in office rooms, dark overcast skies, and my shots come out blurry and/or dull. Have not really mastered what exposure really means I think.

The minimum shutter speed to compensate handshake is around 1/45 (correct me if I'm wrong), what if the lighting isn't very good? What else can I do besides flash or pumping up the ISO?

Another question is, how far does a lens go in vibrant images? When I took pictures on my friend's portrait lens (f1.4) on a D80, the pictures come out a lot more vivid strangely. But I am wondering if it is just me or the situation then was a lot brighter. Haha.
 

calebk

Senior Member
Jul 25, 2006
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Clementi
#10
...
The minimum shutter speed to compensate handshake is around 1/45 (correct me if I'm wrong), what if the lighting isn't very good? What else can I do besides flash or pumping up the ISO?

Another question is, how far does a lens go in vibrant images? When I took pictures on my friend's portrait lens (f1.4) on a D80, the pictures come out a lot more vivid strangely. But I am wondering if it is just me or the situation then was a lot brighter. Haha.
Minimum shutter speed to counter shake depends on your focal length. You calculate it by this formula: 1/shutter speed (x crop factor, if relevant).

In your case, for instance using a 50mm lens, the minimum shutter speed should be

1/50 x 1.5 = 1/75

The closest shutter speed therefore is 1/60s or 1/80s, whichever you feel safer with.

If lighting isn't good, you only have four things to play with: shutter speed, aperture, ISO and flash. If you are shooting people, these are the only things to consider. If you are shooting landscapes, tripods also come into play.

Colour vibrancy is also somewhat dependent on exposure. A photo that is not well exposed can potentially look dull.
 

LittleWolf

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Jan 23, 2005
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#11
strange theory!

lets leave out the in camera saturation setting for now, the main reason for mute color are soft lighting, you will notice everything seem dull in a over cast day, and it will look for vivid on a sunny day.
Diffuse ("soft") lighting reduces contrast by eliminating/filling in shadows. It doesn't affect saturation.
 

jopel

Senior Member
Dec 21, 2004
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#12
Diffuse ("soft") lighting reduces contrast by eliminating/filling in shadows. It doesn't affect saturation.
reduced contrast does reduce saturation. this is different from correct exposure using softbox.
 

fi5hbone

New Member
Jan 16, 2008
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#13
Wow there are some confusing terms here! I just bought a 1.8D Nikkor 50mm and the colors do look better than the D70 kit lens so I suppose that's one factor as well.

Having said that, it seems "easier" to get more vivid colors with the prime lens than it is with the kit lens. Exposure seems to be a totally different factor altogether in the sense that for both lens, once you get the exposure right, the prime lens produces more vibrant colors.

Does anyone have any tips with regard to estimating what situations need to be over or underexposed either with exposure compensation or by switching to manual? When I was shooting for my organization, it seems I have to keep experimenting as different subjects in the same lighting needs to be "exposed" differently. It's nice as part of the learning curve but I take so long to learn!
 

tunster

New Member
Oct 26, 2003
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antony.sofohk.com
#14
Hm...shall we back to the old school of science?

How we see colours? Reflection of light from objects. If there's not enough light, it equals to not enough colour reflected. Make sense?

So in your Office and Overcasted sky situations, office light is always dim. So you will get slow shutter (blurry pictures) and not enough saturation (not enough light reflected). Make sense again? And same thing to overcasted sky.

What you can really do for those situation. Post Process please....you need to learn some post processing and boost the colour then. And try to take pictures in RAW instead of JPEG... RAWs are easier to correct and try your best to correct it before you export for further processing.
 

tunster

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Oct 26, 2003
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#15
Wow there are some confusing terms here! I just bought a 1.8D Nikkor 50mm and the colors do look better than the D70 kit lens so I suppose that's one factor as well.

Having said that, it seems "easier" to get more vivid colors with the prime lens than it is with the kit lens. Exposure seems to be a totally different factor altogether in the sense that for both lens, once you get the exposure right, the prime lens produces more vibrant colors.

Does anyone have any tips with regard to estimating what situations need to be over or underexposed either with exposure compensation or by switching to manual? When I was shooting for my organization, it seems I have to keep experimenting as different subjects in the same lighting needs to be "exposed" differently. It's nice as part of the learning curve but I take so long to learn!
I personally shoot in AV mode most of the time. But that's not for exposure purpose. It's to control the DOF (Depth of Field). I want to take care of what picture I want. Exposure is mostly my second thought. However it is not hard to determine.

First, think of your scene. If your scene contains more highlights (lights, white area etc). You need to +EV. Cause most likely your camera will THINK it is too bright and try to stop your exposure down. VV for the more shadow scene.

Second, try not to include direct light source. They will screw up the exposure most of the time.
 

jopel

Senior Member
Dec 21, 2004
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#16
after you master your cam, you will need to master photoshop or gimp.
 

fi5hbone

New Member
Jan 16, 2008
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#17
Thanks Tunster for your advice. Guess I will have to make do and readjust my expectations. Got to read up more on metering as well.

I have not really tried shooting in RAW because I don't really know what to make of it actually but I shall start trying. :) Photoshop is something I am relatively comfortable with but still a long way more for me to go. :)
 

LittleWolf

New Member
Jan 23, 2005
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Singapore
#20
reduced contrast does reduce saturation. this is different from correct exposure using softbox.
Nope. Saturation gets distorted when you distort the contrast afterwards by applying "curves"/gamma/whatever you call it. Beyond possibly differing spectral composition of the illumination, it is not affected at all by the illumination.
 

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