Portraiture in Snow


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joekohys

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Aug 16, 2007
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#1
Hi, I intend to buy Nikon D90.

Will just using spot metering without flash solve much of the common exposure problem with snow background like darkened face and grey snow.

What features like ASA, White Balance etc must I pay special attention to before I can get a good portrait with snow background.

Please advise for I have been told that whatever portraitures from whichever camera must go through Photoshop????.

All my past portraitures have darkened face and greyish snow despite using flash with Canon 400D. Please guide. Thank you

Joe
 

JacePhoto

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Oct 1, 2007
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#2
yup. cameras then to over meter bright landscape.

My quick way is to manage the exposure compensation. +1 to +2.

Shoot- check-adjust.

I wont use spot meter.
 

zac08

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Feb 21, 2005
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#3
As I have MENTIONED previously in your previous thread,

#9

You have to UNDERSTAND how the metering works. No matter WHICH camera, it's gonna end up the same if you don't know how to use it.

Spot metering for the face is a start but it would still depend on the brightness of the scenery as well as the reflected light being thrown onto the subject from the snow.

For white balance, you can use the snow as your white point during editing (esp. when you use RAW). The ASA or ISO (as we're more used to) would be dependent on the brightness level and you should be safe at 100 or 200.

If you wish to use a flash, you may have to compensate for the brighter BG and darker subjects by dropping the camera ev and increasing the flash ev accordingly.
 

JacePhoto

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#4
I think we all need to know the basics of metering especially during film days. When i was much younger, we trained ourselves to assess the conditions of the lighting till we are 100% right each time.

Right now, in digital technology, my work flow is Shoot-Check-Adjust. I am getting decent results. This is my 2 cents worth.
 

joekohys

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Aug 16, 2007
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#5
Hi JacePhoto. Thank you for your response. So I don't use Spot Metering but the Camera Exposure Compensation. So what about the flash. Do you recommend that I use it?

Hi Zac08. Thank you also for your advice. This time round, your advice is a bit too "technical" for me as I have just simply could not "master" the techniques. Can you please simplify the techniques to use for portraits in snow. My reason to buy a Nikon D90 to replace my Canon 400D is because I thought the latter would give me portrait pictures. Perhaps naive thinking!!
 

zac08

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#6
Hi JacePhoto. Thank you for your response. So I don't use Spot Metering but the Camera Exposure Compensation. So what about the flash. Do you recommend that I use it?

Hi Zac08. Thank you also for your advice. This time round, your advice is a bit too "technical" for me as I have just simply could not "master" the techniques. Can you please simplify the techniques to use for portraits in snow. My reason to buy a Nikon D90 to replace my Canon 400D is because I thought the latter would give me portrait pictures. Perhaps naive thinking!!
Let's see..

Mebbe u can read here first.

Photography Notes For Newbies
 

Blur Shadow

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Sep 17, 2005
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#7
It's all about metering. The D90 has:

- 3D Matrix Metering
- Center Metering
- Spot Metering

They may produce different exposure settings, for different reasons. For your case, using 3D Matrix Metering, may result in a general underexposure, since they consider the entire scene before coming up with a recommended exposure (the snow, being white and reflective, is really much brighter).

Ceter metering, as the name suggests, places more emphasis on the center, and spot metering meters the center of your viewfinder, where that "dot" is.

In our hypothetical case, let us say you're using your D90, with constant ISO 200, and for further simplicity, A mode, with aperture set at f/8.

For the same scene of a general snowy background and a solitude person in the middle,

3D Matrix Metering - 1/320s
Center Metering - 1/160s
Spot Metering (Metering the person's face) - 1/125s

Let us assume that, once again, for the sake of simplicity, that f/8 1/125s @ ISO200 gives the correct exposure. Then

Spot Metering gives the correct exposure, center metering is about 1/3 stops underexposed and 3D matrix metering 1 1/3 stops underexposed.

Hence, you can either spot meter, or, as JacePhoto mentioned, shoot in 3D Matrix Metering and +1 to exposure. In our hypothetical case, doing so will led to an underexpose of 1/3, something that is fairly acceptable and easily corrected in post processing.

Using fill-flash is also a good method, as the snow details may be lost in the method above...
 

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Blur Shadow

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Sep 17, 2005
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#8
Oh... I forgot. That's one additional form of recourse in the D90. D-lighting...
 

joekohys

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Aug 16, 2007
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#9
Thank you Blur Shadow. Your reply is informative. My Hat off to you guys like Zac08 and JacePhoto and yourself for making this forum a wonderful place to seek knowledge on photography.

Thank you all once again.

Regards
Joe
 

calebk

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Jul 25, 2006
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#10
I really have to be blunt in saying that you can upgrade to a 1DsMkIII or D3, but if you don't understand metering, you're still going to get greyish snow and dark faces.

All exposure meters judge "well-exposed" as 18% grey. The camera will, therefore, expose for the snow at 18% grey, instead of white. Using spot or partial metering (even on your 400D), and metering for the right portion of the scene, will rectify this problem. The best thing about this solution? It's free. You don't have to get a new camerea.

Upgrade yourself, not the camera.
 

#11
I really have to be blunt in saying that you can upgrade to a 1DsMkIII or D3, but if you don't understand metering, you're still going to get greyish snow and dark faces.

All exposure meters judge "well-exposed" as 18% grey. The camera will, therefore, expose for the snow at 18% grey, instead of white. Using spot or partial metering (even on your 400D), and metering for the right portion of the scene, will rectify this problem. The best thing about this solution? It's free. You don't have to get a new camerea.

Upgrade yourself, not the camera.
I vehemently disagree.

But a Nikon D3. Confirm the pictures you take will make people go WOW.
 

JacePhoto

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Oct 1, 2007
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#12
Hi JacePhoto. Thank you for your response. So I don't use Spot Metering but the Camera Exposure Compensation. So what about the flash. Do you recommend that I use it?

Hi Zac08. Thank you also for your advice. This time round, your advice is a bit too "technical" for me as I have just simply could not "master" the techniques. Can you please simplify the techniques to use for portraits in snow. My reason to buy a Nikon D90 to replace my Canon 400D is because I thought the latter would give me portrait pictures. Perhaps naive thinking!!
Hi Joekohys,

Spot metering can get a bit complicated. Its useful to know though. Its not that i dun use or advice against it. I am sharing the 'short cut' to things. You will still get the same results. :)

As for the flash, you can always mount it on. Some fill-in flash especially when the sun is behind the subject can look very good. If it is too bright, just switch it off.

Have fun!:)
 

catchlights

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Sep 27, 2004
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#13
learn how to take proper metering reading with the background are too bright or dark is the key, best cameras will not help here.
 

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Blur Shadow

Senior Member
Sep 17, 2005
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#14
Well, the increased DR of the superior cameras may help... Ha. But the trick is proper metering and understanding that what the camera sees isn't what you see. Use modern advances like TTL-BL and D-lighting to your advantage.
 

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