Thursday, May 21, 2009

Help Me Find the Light

I took this picture of Brandy last weekend, in a shady spot under the cedar trees. This picture is SOOC (straight out of camera.)


I was able to edit it and lighten up the mare. Here is the resulting image.


Definitely an improvement. However, there has got to be a way to get a lighter shot or better exposure in a shady location, without using a flash or editing the photo afterward. Yes? No? What would you do? Remember, I'm a rookie. I could use your help!



juliette said...

PG - there are two different aesthetics at work here! The top photo has your full range of values. It has your whitest whites, your middle values and your darkest darks. Brandy might "look" better in the bottom photo from a horse lover's (Portraiture) point of view, but from a photography point of view, the top one is "better".

Bush Babe said...

What I tend to do (and while I have been around a camera a while I still don't consider myself an expert at all) is to 'bracket'... to do a little series adjusting apeture or shutter speed. This'll give you a range of options to choose from, depending on the look you'd like. I tend to look for clarity around the eyes... everything else falls into place from there. Does that make sense??
PS Agree with juliette but (like you) like the bottom shot. Its the eyes.

Marchelle said...

Just for the record, I agree with Juliette! But I see why you like the second one because the subject is better lit!
I was thinking about camera settings this morning and was going to email you some info I found thru Ken Rockwell, so look for that info in a bit!

Anyway, some things you could try in camera/while shooting are, you could try to face your subject so the light is on their face and the background behind them is darker. I know with shade sometimes it all looks the same... and I know its REAL easy to just reposition a horse for a photo! ;)
Another thing you can try is metering your exposure off the horse. It may sometimes blow out your background, or in this case, since the horse is lighter, it may read the light on the horse and then darken the overall photo. I can't say for sure, it's one of those 'try it and see' kind of things!?!? But it's worth a shot though to see what the results are in tough lighting situations! And if you need help about metering, just ask me and I'll see what I can help with... I know manuals sometimes are so confusing to read, and it helps me to hear it from another person too!

I don't remember what editing software you use, but in Photoshop there are ways to just lighten particular areas of the photo, so you could only lighten the horse and leave the background the way it is.

All of that being said, its all a matter of preference anyway... there is an Indianapolis wedding photographer that I follow and her signature style is to almost over-expose and really saturate the colors. And people pay thousands of dollars for her! Don't get me wrong, I LOVE her work, I'm just saying to some her photos may seem to bright. So again, it's all subjective!

So you are completely justified in loving the second one better... it's YOUR work and you know what you like! =)

Pony Girl said...

Great information everyone! Marchelle, help with metering would be great. I forgot to mention I took this on the zoom, so I feel like it was a bit blurry. I think w/out VR that might be something I have to deal with...every time I take a picture I try to hold my breath and hold steady, but I totally feel like I'm moving all of over the place!

Dusty Devoe said...

Great pictures of Brandy. I like the second one too! I tend to go that direction when working on things in Picasa.

Paint Girl said...

Is there a setting on that camera that removes dirt?
Love them both. I always have a tendency to go for the lighter picture but I think the darker one looks pretty good too.

Pony Girl said...

{PG}~ Yea, sorry, I didn't groom your mare before the picture, LOL! I am sure there is an editing feature of some program that will "clean up" and retouch dirt!!

HBFG said...

Hi, I just recently found a great blogger\photographer who takes great pictures, she also shares a lot of practical tips and explanations, I learned a lot reading through her work..
Good luck!

juliette said...

Pony Girl! I just re-read my comments from this morning and I worded that in such a bad way. I am sorry. I sound like some sort of photography bitty! Ugh! I have to critique too much artwork in my job, I guess! Also, it was 6:30am (my time in the East) so I guess I was too sleepy to use my words well! Sorry! Your photography is so great - I am going to stick to riding from now on!

Pony Girl said...

{Juliette}~ No worries! I understand what you were saying. I am still learning so it helps to have the advice and perspectives of others! :)

"DJ" said...

I'm no expert but maybe a compromise between the two photos would look good. I like the original better than the brightened one.

City girl turned Country Girl said...

PG you are experiencing some of the things I was expressing to you...I have lighting issues as well, my favorite time for shooting outdoor subjects is when there is an overcast..Creating a more natural picture, and I tend to leave them natural. I haven't found any way that I would like to use to brighten them...Sometimes if they are just to dark then that's when I may make them black and white or do something else.. Great pictures though!!

cdncowgirl said...

Not an expert at all, just MO, Brandy may look a bit better in the 2nd pic but in the original I liked everything else better.

This DVM's Wife's Life said...

If you are shooting in Manual mode you will be able to adjust your exposure to lighten it.
However, Photoshop away baby! LOL!
Which picture editing program are you using?

Sydney said...

Shoot in RAW, assuming your camera can shoot in RAW. Raw is a bigger file compared to regular JPG but you can edit it just like you can edit settings on your camera. For instance if you took a shot that was too dark you can lighten it without it looking over saturated.

I like the first picture better. The gentle light coming in from beyond the shade is nice. The second is a little over saturated for my taste but good shot overall.

sweetmemorymakingmom said...

I ment to ask you, what camera do you use. Yours takes exceptional photos. I am in need of a new one since I broke mine. hugs, Ellen

Pony Girl said...

[Sweetmemorymakingmom}~ I use a Nikon D40. It's a great little camera!

mdk jewelry designs said...

I have been meaning to study up on "bracketing". I like both of them, but for some reason the second speaks more to me. I still have a lot to learn.

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