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11-24-2007, 12:49 PM   #1
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what did I do wrong, and how to fix it?

Okay----keep in mind I just moved from a P&S to a DSLR. I have the K100D Super. I took photos of my kids today for Christmas Card photos. Now, granted they don't have to look professional, it's just a Christmas Card, but I wanted them to look good. I used my 18-55mm lens to begin with and used the autofocus and everything else auto. We went to a local grist mill that is mostly shaded, but no matter where I placed the kids, the background is really bright and you can't see the blue in the sky. Two of my kids are really fair skinned and light hair---the other 2 have darker hair and a slightly darker complexion. The 2 fair skinned kids are kind of washed out in the photos, even using photoshop to enhance them. I turned the flash off, and that didn't help. Several of the photos look good enough for the card, but I really wanted something better this year since I have a new camera. What settings should I be changing and maybe I should photograph them later in the afternoon? We went about 1:00--would that matter? I tried to keep them in the shade, but the background across the water and everwhere else is very bright. Help!!!

11-24-2007, 12:59 PM   #2
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Hard to say without seeing the shots and the Exif data.

Rusty
11-24-2007, 01:43 PM   #3
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post the shots and lets see the damage. with out seeing the photos and EXIF it's hard to tell what settings you used and really hard to try and give you corrections if need.
11-24-2007, 02:46 PM   #4
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I agree with what's been said above but I have a suspicion you've answered you own question with this remark:


QuoteOriginally posted by momof4 Quote
.............. I tried to keep them in the shade, but the background across the water and everwhere else is very bright. Help!!!


11-24-2007, 03:17 PM   #5
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No Image

Its like trying to explain what I did wrong in the chorus of my song..I need to hear the song.

We are an image oriented forum here. If we were critiquing literature perhaps...

Post your image and perhaps I can be of assistance.

Ben
11-24-2007, 04:49 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by gofer Quote
I agree with what's been said above but I have a suspicion you've answered you own question with this remark:

That same line threw me. Normally, subjects should not be in the shade when shooting on a bright day.
11-24-2007, 06:53 PM   #7
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momof4,

Although I do agree that seeing the pictures would be nice I just wanted to point out that you would have probably perfected the shots with manual exposure.

From what I can tell auto exposure meters the light accurately where your standing, but it has no real way to know the lighting conditions 10' away.

My style has me often as much as 3 stops away from what the camera thinks is right.
11-24-2007, 07:09 PM   #8
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How do I attach a photo to a posting here? Let's see if I get this right-----Okay, it won't let me---how do I resize a photo? Thanks!

11-24-2007, 07:38 PM   #9
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EXIF would def help, but from your post and because I suck at taking pics and know what a messed up shot looks like, I would assume that you probably wanted to stop the lens down quite a bit if it was bright out and you may not have. Thue letting too much light in and getting everything washed out. I have found that there is a delicate balance in using the flash to erase unwanted shadows and stopping the camera down to get the right exposure. Also, bracketting comes in very handy. But as everyone has mentioned, without seeing the pics and reading the EXIF, I could be totally off base with my amature analysis.
11-24-2007, 10:59 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by momof4 Quote
how do I resize a photo? Thanks!
Copy the image to a different location, just in case you mess up and save it over (I learned that the hard way)

It's different in all software, so it might be easiest if we knew what your using.

For the most part open your image, and click on edit or modify.
You'll see Resize or something along those lines listed in the column.
Click on that and it'll give you a couple of choices.

You can change the pixels to 800 or so wide, or just reduce it to around 30%.
Then save it as a resized JPG.
11-24-2007, 11:21 PM   #11
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taking images of people on a bright day while in part shadow plays havoc with light metering ... and shadow casting can be a real pain.

On the really bright days may a suggest getting a circular polarizer ... this will allow you to adjust the amount you can polarize the light (like the sunglasses) ... it will bring more blue into your skies ... and reduce a lot of the glare from your images as well.

I guess Spot metering might be the best option as well ... instead of matrix metering too ... you can focus on a set point to meter from instead fo the camera trying to sort it out and getting confused with shadows and bright light to contend with.

These are just a few pointers I have found that have helped me as a beginner ... and just thinking about these couple of things on bright days has allowed me to make more of my shots keepers.

For soft light and lass shadow ... either shoot in the "Golden Hours" ... that's about 1 hour either side of sunrise ... and senset ... depending on the harshness of light ... and which way you are shooting as well. Overcast days are much better for shooting as well.
11-25-2007, 01:02 AM   #12
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Although there is some good advice here, it's over-complicated.

With your subjects in the shade and a bright background, the camera meters to expose the subjects properly while over-exposing the background. If you had taken the shots with your subjects in the sun as well, the exposure would be more even (both the subjects and the background would expose properly) but you would have harsh lighting because of the sun.

Contrary to what you might think, the flash would actually help in this situation. Firing the flash would make your subjects brighter, and a closer match to the desired exposure of the background. That's called Fill Flash, and is used for just such an occasion.

Sun and shade mixed shots also confuse the white balance of the camera. Your kids probably look washed out because the camera decided most of the light coming in was 'warm' daylight, not the more cool/blue light that you get in shadows. It compensates for this by adding blues to the 'daylight' to make the yellow appear more 'white', which is fine for everything that is lit up by sunlight, but adding more blues to the shadows will make everything in the shadows seem even more blue or 'washed out'.

Often the best conditions for shooting people outdoors are in cloudy weather (nice and soft, diffuse lighting) or as other posters have mentioned, in the hours surrounding sunrise and sunset.

Best of luck! It's a nice camera, but there is definitely a learning curve over a P&S
11-25-2007, 08:54 AM   #13
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If you mentioned this I didn't see it, but having photo editing software, like Photo Shop Elements can really help out sometimes. Other than that, you've gotten terrific suggestions from the folks here. I really agree with using your flash in conditions you described.
11-25-2007, 01:31 PM   #14
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[QUOTE=little laker;123744]momof4,

From what I can tell auto exposure meters the light accurately where your standing, but it has no real way to know the lighting conditions 10' away.

Not so Stu! The camera meter reads the light from the subject. Spot metering is particularly good at reading the exposure from a small part of the subject, be it 5, 10 or 50 feet away.

I see your misunderstanding hasn't affected your photography - you have some very nice shots on your website.

Cheers,
Rusty
11-27-2007, 04:23 AM   #15
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Thanks everyone. I've tried to get a photo resized and being "technology challenged" as my 18 yr old so politely puts it, I figure I can't get one on here until hopefully my computer literate husband can help me. I did, however, find a teacher at the school where I work, that can help me. She has had a K1000 for a long time and she says when she is done with her graduate work this semester she can teach me some things. I am mostly a hands-on learner, so that will help me a lot. I also took more photos of the kids in front of the Christmas tree and they came out much better!
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