Overexposed Photos When Outdoors


Arctic

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Dec 2, 2008
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#1
Hey guys, I'm using a 50mm F1.8 lens currently. When I'm trying to shoot outdoor portraits and trying to get that bokeh effect, my pictures always get very overexposed when under the sun. I tried bumping my shutter speed to max, and ISO to 100 while using F2.0. So far still no luck. I'm still scratching my head on what went wrong... My friends managed to take some really nice outdoor pics, but he was using a 35mm F1.4. So is it my equipment problem? :(

Btw I'm using a Canon 100D.
 

ryanlio

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Nov 27, 2012
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#2
For a test. Try aperture priority. Meter to the face of your subject.
 

SkyStrike

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Nov 29, 2010
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#3
If you mentioned that your shutter speed is at max while at ISO 100 and it's still overexposed, then the only explanation is that there is too much light. There are a couple of ways to "fix"
- Use a ND filter
- Wait till a passing cloud comes by to block some sunlight to cut down the amount of light entering.
- Find another shady location...

The main aim is to cut down the amount of light entering.

For example (assuming 1/4000s is the max you can go), using ISO 100, 1/4000s, f8 is the proper exposure, by opening the aperture to f1.8 while others remain the same, you are allowing 4 times more light into the camera which will cause the scene to underexpose.
 

kandinsky

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Apr 26, 2008
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#4
If you share the original images with EXIF info intact, will be easier for others to diagnose the likely issue/s with more certainty.
Can try using something like flickr, as exif info will be presented.
 

joh

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Jul 5, 2003
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#5
U know u can actually set exposure manually. Use histogram to nail it nice.
Auto AE is not always spot on for critical work. U can also spotmeter, lock exposure, then shoot.
Don't make it like a point and shoot. Take control.
U may want to read some on exposure among others.
Understand the iso/ aperture/ shutter relativity to making the image. I'm sure there is nothing wrong with your camera.
Have fun shooting.
 

#6
Hey guys, I'm using a 50mm F1.8 lens currently. When I'm trying to shoot outdoor portraits and trying to get that bokeh effect, my pictures always get very overexposed when under the sun. I tried bumping my shutter speed to max, and ISO to 100 while using F2.0. So far still no luck. I'm still scratching my head on what went wrong... My friends managed to take some really nice outdoor pics, but he was using a 35mm F1.4. So is it my equipment problem? :(

Btw I'm using a Canon 100D.
Most often then not...it's usually user problem than equipement problem. I suspect you might have your metering set to spot metering.
 

daredevil123

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Oct 25, 2005
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#7
On a very sunny day, the light is too strong even for ISO 100 to be using F2. Either stop down, or use an ND filter.
 

Arctic

New Member
Dec 2, 2008
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Singapore
#8
For a test. Try aperture priority. Meter to the face of your subject.
Aperture Priority still comes out overexposed, same even when I use one of those SCN functions with Blurred Background.


If you mentioned that your shutter speed is at max while at ISO 100 and it's still overexposed, then the only explanation is that there is too much light. There are a couple of ways to "fix"
- Use a ND filter
- Wait till a passing cloud comes by to block some sunlight to cut down the amount of light entering.
- Find another shady location...

The main aim is to cut down the amount of light entering.

For example (assuming 1/4000s is the max you can go), using ISO 100, 1/4000s, f8 is the proper exposure, by opening the aperture to f1.8 while others remain the same, you are allowing 4 times more light into the camera which will cause the scene to underexpose.
Yep I realized that when I'm under a tree or something, it turns out alright. Just wondering how did others do it where they are at the beach or something. I tried Full Auto, it bumps the aperture down to 6+, but then that means I don't get the bokeh effect :p


U know u can actually set exposure manually. Use histogram to nail it nice.
Auto AE is not always spot on for critical work. U can also spotmeter, lock exposure, then shoot.
Don't make it like a point and shoot. Take control.
U may want to read some on exposure among others.
Understand the iso/ aperture/ shutter relativity to making the image. I'm sure there is nothing wrong with your camera.
Have fun shooting.
Actually when on Manual mode, I haven't figured out how to adjust the exposure like in P mode. :p I only know that I can sort of set a bracket, but then I don't get to force the exposure up or down.

Most often then not...it's usually user problem than equipement problem. I suspect you might have your metering set to spot metering.
I also haven't quite figured out how does the metering work too. So far I just leave it at Evaluative Metering, since the description says that it is ideal for most situations...haaa... So what would be a more suitable setting in this case?

On a very sunny day, the light is too strong even for ISO 100 to be using F2. Either stop down, or use an ND filter.
Looks like I need to start researching into what is a ND filter
 

SkyStrike

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Nov 29, 2010
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#10
Yep I realized that when I'm under a tree or something, it turns out alright. Just wondering how did others do it where they are at the beach or something. I tried Full Auto, it bumps the aperture down to 6+, but then that means I don't get the bokeh effect :p

Looks like I need to start researching into what is a ND filter
As said, you will have to look into alternate ways to cut down the amount of light coming in if you want to keep using the widest aperture in such condition. In my previous post, I've named a few ways.

**It's all physics...


If you don't want to start buying stuffs, you should think of other ways like re-locating to another not so sunny place.
 

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Octarine

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Jan 3, 2008
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Pasir Ris
#11
Actually when on Manual mode, I haven't figured out how to adjust the exposure like in P mode. :p I only know that I can sort of set a bracket, but then I don't get to force the exposure up or down.
Time to read your manual. It's simple button and the scroll wheel to change exposure compensation. But then again, it starts with exposure metering. but here it seems the knowledge is lacking:
I also haven't quite figured out how does the metering work too. So far I just leave it at Evaluative Metering, since the description says that it is ideal for most situations...haaa... So what would be a more suitable setting in this case?
Again, your manual comes in. It's explained there and it should become obvious how these modes work.
Evaluative is more or less the 'dummy' mode. The camera has lots of parameters stored. Upon metering a scene the camera tries to guess what the scenery / subject is and will apply a suitable metering mode and exposure setting. But a camera cannot guess what you intend to do. That's the point where you have to step in and use a mode that serves your needs. Obviously, you want to have a proper exposure of the face in a portrait picture. The use a mode that focuses on the center of the image. This might result in an overexposed background. But then you have have to decide between a) accept it and handle it is post-processing; or b) rearrange your model to have a less bright background; or c) use ND filters ... or a combination of two or three options...
 

#12
Aperture Priority still comes out overexposed, same even when I use one of those SCN functions with Blurred Background.

Yep I realized that when I'm under a tree or something, it turns out alright. Just wondering how did others do it where they are at the beach or something. I tried Full Auto, it bumps the aperture down to 6+, but then that means I don't get the bokeh effect :p

Actually when on Manual mode, I haven't figured out how to adjust the exposure like in P mode. :p I only know that I can sort of set a bracket, but then I don't get to force the exposure up or down.

I also haven't quite figured out how does the metering work too. So far I just leave it at Evaluative Metering, since the description says that it is ideal for most situations...haaa... So what would be a more suitable setting in this case?

Looks like I need to start researching into what is a ND filter
Don't take this the wrong way but from what I have read thus far, you are not doing yourself any good to researching or wasting more money on ND filters.

To use an analogy, you are just learning to drive a car and before you even know how to drive well enough, you want to master drifting or stunt driving.

From what you wrote, it indicates your knowledge about photographic equipment in general is lacking, a heavy dependence on automatic program functions and not spending enough time getting familiar with the camera you invested money in. The most basic instrumentation in all cameras is the built-in exposure meter which you can see from inside your viewfinder. You mentioned you have not learned to use it yet. Shocking to say the least. No use talking about histogram if the most basic metering is not even considered important to learn.

Am I right to say, you never or rarely shoot on MANUAL given you don't know how to use exposure meter reading? Sorry to say, anyone into photography need to know how to use the exposure metering. Simply looking at where the indicator points will tell you 'relatively' if your overall composition's exposure is correct, over or under exposed. The metering aids you ( as part of your creative process to capturing your intended final result ) to decide how many stops to adjust in co-relation to shutter or aperture settings. At times, with ISO setting thrown into the mix as a compensation for example.

Even in Program or AUTO Scene modes, the metering is a good indicator tool to see if the lighting condition is acceptable or beyond the camera's ability to capture the scene properly exposed in those auto modes. Further to that, metering comes in 3 choice of modes, mufti-point, center-weighted and single point. You need to understand enough to know which mode is best for your style and condition. If all this sound technical or confusing, I hope you realise that you have much to learn beyond just creative composition awaiting you. There is no running away from it if you even want to improve.

Lack of basic understanding about photographing LIGHT with your most basic camera setup will bring you no closer to improving or appreciating your hobby FULLY and that each time you press the shutter, you are in fact wishing on luck, the camera's AUTO modes you paid good money for, will capture the perfect shot for you. Not understanding the basics and now wanting to add 'another variables' to the equation like ND filters (or flash or more expensive lens) is not going to solve your long term disadvantage.

Even a born talented child prodigy pianist still have to spend grueling hours upon hours learning finger works to playing the keys flawlessly to bring out his true musical genius. Without those fundamental, I can present you with the best crafted piano and you would still not play it well.

Don't believe all the BS advertising on how advance cameras are these days especially those PROGRAM AUTO SCENE modes being so damn idiot-proof. They only work up to a point. Cameras don't shoot themselves and instantly produce great shots....no camera dare to claim that. If the one fiddling with the camera has no understanding of the gear, his or her best work will always be held back by their ignorance of the tools.

So get your basic understanding on photography and photographic equipment up to a decent level before you spend (and waste) more money.
 

Edwin Francis

Senior Member
Mar 24, 2006
883
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#13
Don't take this the wrong way but from what I have read thus far, you are not doing yourself any good to researching or wasting more money on ND filters.
To use an analogy, you are just learning to drive a car and before you even know how to drive well enough, you want to master drifting or stunt driving.
Agreed.

Arctic, do learn to walk before you run. Exposure and focus (yes, it's possible to screw up focus even with AF)

BTW, there are other ways to isolate a subject from the background other than selective focus (what you called the Bokeh effect). E.g. shoot against a flat colour, or at least one that contrasts with your subject.
 

Arctic

New Member
Dec 2, 2008
6
0
0
Singapore
#14
Don't take this the wrong way but from what I have read thus far, you are not doing yourself any good to researching or wasting more money on ND filters.

To use an analogy, you are just learning to drive a car and before you even know how to drive well enough, you want to master drifting or stunt driving.

From what you wrote, it indicates your knowledge about photographic equipment in general is lacking, a heavy dependence on automatic program functions and not spending enough time getting familiar with the camera you invested money in. The most basic instrumentation in all cameras is the built-in exposure meter which you can see from inside your viewfinder. You mentioned you have not learned to use it yet. Shocking to say the least. No use talking about histogram if the most basic metering is not even considered important to learn.

Am I right to say, you never or rarely shoot on MANUAL given you don't know how to use exposure meter reading? Sorry to say, anyone into photography need to know how to use the exposure metering. Simply looking at where the indicator points will tell you 'relatively' if your overall composition's exposure is correct, over or under exposed. The metering aids you ( as part of your creative process to capturing your intended final result ) to decide how many stops to adjust in co-relation to shutter or aperture settings. At times, with ISO setting thrown into the mix as a compensation for example.

Even in Program or AUTO Scene modes, the metering is a good indicator tool to see if the lighting condition is acceptable or beyond the camera's ability to capture the scene properly exposed in those auto modes. Further to that, metering comes in 3 choice of modes, mufti-point, center-weighted and single point. You need to understand enough to know which mode is best for your style and condition. If all this sound technical or confusing, I hope you realise that you have much to learn beyond just creative composition awaiting you. There is no running away from it if you even want to improve.

Lack of basic understanding about photographing LIGHT with your most basic camera setup will bring you no closer to improving or appreciating your hobby FULLY and that each time you press the shutter, you are in fact wishing on luck, the camera's AUTO modes you paid good money for, will capture the perfect shot for you. Not understanding the basics and now wanting to add 'another variables' to the equation like ND filters (or flash or more expensive lens) is not going to solve your long term disadvantage.

Even a born talented child prodigy pianist still have to spend grueling hours upon hours learning finger works to playing the keys flawlessly to bring out his true musical genius. Without those fundamental, I can present you with the best crafted piano and you would still not play it well.

Don't believe all the BS advertising on how advance cameras are these days especially those PROGRAM AUTO SCENE modes being so damn idiot-proof. They only work up to a point. Cameras don't shoot themselves and instantly produce great shots....no camera dare to claim that. If the one fiddling with the camera has no understanding of the gear, his or her best work will always be held back by their ignorance of the tools.

So get your basic understanding on photography and photographic equipment up to a decent level before you spend (and waste) more money.
Actually I started off shooting in P-mode, AV, and TV. Only recently did I start venturing into Manual Mode. In the first 3 modes, I could adjust the exposure as it was pretty straight forward. However in Manual mode, I could not adjust the exposure in similar fashion. Instead I only saw the AEB which only allows me to set a bracket range. I still don't really know what the bracket means. If I don't set the brackets in AEB, I can see the meter in my view finder and how it moves around depending on lighting. I tend to snap pictures when the meter is one notch above the mid, but somehow the exposure of the final picture still varies - for example sometimes the meter could be 2 notches below but then the final picture still turns out fine. Or the meter could indicate 1 notch above the mid, but the final picture still turns out under-exposed. I still can't figure out the link and why doesn't it give me a consistent exposure level. In the case of under bright sunlight, my picture still turns out very over-exposed even when it is about 1 notch above mid. From what I've read in the posts so far, the exposure metering is something I can look into.

Like what Octarine mentioned, time to dig up the manual ;p

Thanks!
 

Last edited:

joh

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Jul 5, 2003
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#15
Google is your good friend. Youtube can be your mentor. Type away all the jargons that have you dazed and confused and see yourself slowly enlightened. In this day and age there's just almost no reason to be saying either I don't know or I don't understand.
Learning photography is a kind of joy on its own you've yet to discover.
 

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SkyStrike

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Nov 29, 2010
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#16
The keyword to search online for is "camera metering" and start reading about it. Tons of writeups about it. The first few will probably be enough for you to get a good idea of what metering is, how it works and when to use it.
 

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