Forgot Password
Pentax Camera Forums Home
 

Reply
Show Printable Version Search this Thread
01-08-2007, 09:42 AM   #1
Veteran Member
user440's Avatar

Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: St. Louis, MO
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 350
Making good indoor shots

I am new (again) to the SLR world and my indoor pictures are really hit and miss. I have typically pretty good composition (framing) but need help on 'SLR's for Dummies' on making the appropriate manual setting on my camera. The main problems I have had:

- Color (?white balance?) - I'm getting a lot of 'yellowish' pictures when shooting indoors with incandescent bulbs.

- Lighting adjustment - Getting a good balance between flash overexposure of the subject and photos that are too dark.

I really need a good primer on understanding F-Stops, and other SLR functions. Any suggestions?

I can easily post some 'bad' examples if it is helpful.

01-08-2007, 09:56 AM   #2
Veteran Member
foxglove's Avatar

Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Atlantic Canada
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 1,049
QuoteOriginally posted by user440 Quote
- Color (?white balance?) - I'm getting a lot of 'yellowish' pictures when shooting indoors with incandescent bulbs.

- Lighting adjustment - Getting a good balance between flash overexposure of the subject and photos that are too dark.
The K100 doesn't seem to cope too well with auto white balance indoors. Mine (without flash) also turn out yellow. I generally shoot raw so I can adjust it later, plus I figure that's the way I percieve it (up to a point - some of them are really yellow!) so I don't try to get it perfect. Someone else could tell you all about manual white balance - I've never got around to trying it. But apparently it works very well.

Are you using the on-board flash? If so, you're probably never going to be entirely happy with your results. An external flash gives far nicer results, even on the hotshoe. Take if off the hotshoe and it's even nicer. The ones that tilt and swivel allow you to bounce off ceilings and walls, plus you can stick a diffuser on. It really makes a big difference, I'd never have believed it until I got one myself! Can you tell I'm a convert?

Good choice of camera, by the way - I just got a K100D and like it a lot. SR is an amazing gizmo.

Julie
01-08-2007, 10:07 AM   #3
Veteran Member
user440's Avatar

Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: St. Louis, MO
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 350
Original Poster
Thanks for the reply. Funny thing is, I can usually get pictures to come out well-balanced and looking sharp, but it is usually by fiddling with the camera blindly since I don't know what I'm doing. I need to practice so I can understand when a shot really does or does not require a flash and why the changes I'm making are or are not resulting in a good shot.

I am really impressed with this camera's ability to shoot without the flash indoors as well as it's propensity to not shoot red-eye. I have never had the red-eye reduction setting on and I don't think I've had one shot come back with any red-eye problems.

Looking through my shots again, I really think my biggest problem is working out the lighting.
01-08-2007, 10:17 AM   #4
Site Supporter
slip's Avatar

Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: 2 hours north of toronto ontario canada
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 3,534
QuoteOriginally posted by user440 Quote
I am new (again) to the SLR world and my indoor pictures are really hit and miss. I have typically pretty good composition (framing) but need help on 'SLR's for Dummies' on making the appropriate manual setting on my camera. The main problems I have had:

- Color (?white balance?) - I'm getting a lot of 'yellowish' pictures when shooting indoors with incandescent bulbs.

- Lighting adjustment - Getting a good balance between flash overexposure of the subject and photos that are too dark.

I really need a good primer on understanding F-Stops, and other SLR functions. Any suggestions?

I can easily post some 'bad' examples if it is helpful.
hi

If you go here Why can't I "get it"? - Digital Scrapbook Place

I made a super simple explaination about shutter speeds. I was registered under the name hattitudes, which is my wife's username.
I tried to explain it in a way that people with absolutely no knowledge on cameras can understand. It is more of the concept then the actual mechanics of a camera
I hope it isn't to simple for you as I don't know the extent of your SLR knowledge
they want me to make them another one about F stops which I will be working on soon.

hope it helps

randy

01-08-2007, 10:37 AM   #5
Veteran Member
user440's Avatar

Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: St. Louis, MO
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 350
Original Poster
I took a camera class in HS in about 1989, so that's the last time I touched an SLR. Needless to say, I need a primer that is one step up from which end of the camera to look into.
01-08-2007, 10:58 AM   #6
Veteran Member
WMBP's Avatar

Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Dallas, Texas
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 2,496
QuoteOriginally posted by user440 Quote
I am new (again) to the SLR world and my indoor pictures are really hit and miss. I have typically pretty good composition (framing) but need help on 'SLR's for Dummies' on making the appropriate manual setting on my camera. The main problems I have had:

- Color (?white balance?) - I'm getting a lot of 'yellowish' pictures when shooting indoors with incandescent bulbs.

- Lighting adjustment - Getting a good balance between flash overexposure of the subject and photos that are too dark.

I really need a good primer on understanding F-Stops, and other SLR functions. Any suggestions?

I can easily post some 'bad' examples if it is helpful.

I have a few quick suggestions.

#1. Get a copy of Bryan Peterson's book Understanding Exposure (Revised Edition) and work your way through it slowly with your camera at your side while you read. It's excellent.

#2. Be aware that you can adjust the strength of the flash. I find this VERY useful. Get to this setting by clicking the Menu button, selecting the Rec. Mode menu set, then "Flash Exp. Comp." Move it to a negative value and experiment. Shooting indoors and fairly close (say, dinner guests) I find that lessening the flash strength really makes for more natural photo. On the other hand, the other night I was shooting an owl in our backyard and I pushed the flash up all the way.

#3. Try playing with the white balance settings: Fn > left arrow on the selector, then up or down. Indoors at home, you should probably try "Tungsten" if you're shooting without the flash, or "Flash" if you are shooting with the flash. But this takes some experimentation. I'm finding that AWB (auto white balance) works about as well as my picking one of the presets; and custom white balance works even better. Setting custom white balance is pretty easy, especially if you have the expocap or one of the similar products from ExpoImaging. The expocap goes on the camera like a lens cap. You use it for five seconds to snap the shutter during the process of setting up a custom white balance, then take it off and put it away. I used it the other day shooting inside a gymnasium in bad light and it did a pretty good job, better than I think I could have done myself with a sheet of white or gray paper. Unfortunately it's not free.

#4. In your photo management software, you might have an adjustment for either white balance or color temp. In Picasa 2.5, for example, it's the slider for Color Temp. Experiment with that and see if you can fix some of your existing yellowish shots. You can do even more if you shoot Raw and learn how to correct in post-processing. Nevertheless I think it's a good idea to make your shots as close to perfect to start with.

#5. As for the relationship between aperture (f-stop) and shutter speed, well, the CONCEPTS are not all that difficult. Peterson's book talks about them at length and gives examples, and you can easily test it yourself. The aperture is the size of the "hole" that lets light get to the camera's sensor. Big aperture = f-stop with small numbers (say, f/3.7) because the f-stop is actually a ratio or fraction, and remember that with a fraction of the type 1/X, the bigger X is, the smaller the fraction is: 1/2 > 1/3 > 1/4, etc. The shutter speed is simple to understand: it's how long the shutter lets light go through the aperture. Think of light as if it were water going into a bucket. For the perfect picture, you always need to get exactly half a gallon of water (er, light) into the container (the sensor). If the aperture is wide open, then it takes a very short time to get that amount of light. If the aperture is just a teeny weeny hole, then it takes longer to get the same amount of light to the sensor.

#6. Although you did not mention it, the last issue here - not to be forgotten - is the sensitivity of the sensor, which is represented by the ISO setting. If a shot is properly exposed at (say) f/8 + 1/500s + ISO 200, then increasing the ISO to 400, which makes the sensor twice as sensitive, will cause the picture to become OVERexposed. You're letting in the same amount of light (that's controlled by the aperture and shutter) but the sensor is twice as touchy.

I used to recommend that beginners (like me) put the camera on P and start shooting. You can certainly do that. But Peterson (#1 above) recommends against it. You don't learn anything shooting in P mode. I'd recommend now that you set the camera to Av (aperture value) mode, set the aperture to 8.0, and then see if the camera offers a reasonable shutter speed automatically. If the camera tells you the shutter speed is less than 1/60s for a shot in which the subject is fairly still, then open the aperture by lowering that f-stop to 7.1 or 6.3 or 5.6, until you get a shutter speed you can live with. If you're trying to shoot a subject that's moving fast, open the aperture all the way (down to f/3.7 if possible) and see if the camera calculates a shutter speed that will work. If it doesn't, THEN increase the ISO one level (from 200 to 400) and see if that helps.

Will
01-08-2007, 11:12 AM   #7
Site Supporter




Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Bronx NY
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 5,611
Hi Mike, well I can pretty much echo everything Julie (foxglove) has said. In addtion have you thought about getting a book on basic photographic technique? I found Tom Grimm's The Basic Book of Photography to be a great help in sorting out depth of field, fstops shutter priority and myriad other stuff I found baffling. I still use mine from time to time to get info on different kinds of filters etc. I'm pretty sure it's still in print.

NaCl(sometimes a book can be a handy thing)H2O
01-08-2007, 11:27 AM   #8
Veteran Member
WMBP's Avatar

Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Dallas, Texas
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 2,496
QuoteOriginally posted by WMBP Quote
You don't learn anything shooting in P mode.
Well, before somebody else calls me on that remark, perhaps I should adjust it a bit. You don't learn anything shooting in Auto mode. In P mode, you can learn a little - but not much. You don't really start learning this stuff until you start shooting in Av, Tv (shutter priority) or M (full manual) mode. Of the three, the one that I think is best for beginners to play with is aperture priority, because you will more often want to set the aperture first (to control depth of field) than the shutter. You will often find yourself saying, I care (or don't care) about depth of field in this shot so I'm going to set the aperture to X and let the camera figure out the right shutter speed for me. You will not so often find yourself saying "I really want to shoot this shot at 1/1000s and I don't give a darn what the depth of field is or what aperture is used." If you are shooting a moving subject and want to stop the action as much as possible, don't use shutter priority - use aperture priority and open the aperture up as wide as possible. The camera will automatically give you the fastest shutter that it thinks creates a proper exposure. If you disagree with the camera, you can make a mental note of the camera's suggested shutter speed, switch to M, set the aperture to what you have before, set the shutter to what the camera just suggested, and then adjust the shutter speed so that you override the camera's light meter. Override it too much and you'll end up with a badly over or under-exposed picture. But if the camera thought 1/125s was "right", you can probably push it to 1/250s and then do a bit of post-processing.

I want to mention one other thing that might confuse you at first. If you use a zoom lens, unless you spent a fortune on it, the widest aperture (smallest f-number) is likely to change as you zoom. Extending the zoom to its telephoto max (to get you "closer" to a distant subject) causes the maximum aperture to get smaller. If you're shooting with lots of light, and going for maximum depth of field by using a small aperture like f/16, then zooming in on the subject might not affect the aperture - it will stay at f/16. But if you're dealing with low light and you start with your lens zoomed to its wide angle position and an aperture of, say, f/3.7, as you zoom in on the subject, that aperture value might change, and THAT will necessitate a change in shutter speed (and/or ISO).

Finally, I think everybody here would give you this advice: PLAY with the camera! I've taken hundreds of shots that never made it to my camera. One of the nicest things about the K100D as compared to my old Canon PowerShot S3 is that the review LCD is way sharper than the S3's, so I can actually get a half-decent idea of whether I took a good photo or not. Don't accept the responsibility of shooting your sister's wedding right away. Take a lot of pictures of unimportant subjects, just to practice, test, try different settings, etc. It's FUN and this is how you learn.

Will

01-08-2007, 11:57 AM   #9
Inactive Account




Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Göteborg, Sweden
Posts: 810
I think Auto WB is made not to adjust for ordinary bulbs. If it did all sunsets and similar pictures would come out white or bluish. It gets a little better with setting the WB to "indoor bulbs" manually.

It gets even better adjustingthe WB in post processing (PP). Shooting raw and setting the WB in PP is the best way to handle it - then you can totally forget about WB settings. You have to find an approach that suits you. I suggest you try some simple editing software and for a start use it just for exposure and WB adjustments. Chances are that you'll get hooked and start to make pictures several notches above the common p&s level that way...

Julie allready mentioned the important things about flash. An onboard flash is nice to have sometimes, but it really sucks when compared to any other arrangement. A Sigma 500? Then you can swiwel and tilt and get some power and more even light.

F-stops and all that... I don't know. I grew up with that and as having used manual cameras from the beginning, well, you understand. I started with borrowing books from a public library, several different ones and I still see that as an advice. I'm also sure there are several on-line resources. What about making a search for "understanding f-stops"? The first hit at Google, out of thousands, is this one:
f-stops, shutter speeds explained

^^Try it^^. Digital photography is a truly perfect field for trying and learning and doing.

No. We don't want bad pictures posted just as generally bad ones...
When you run into a specific problem or an interesting question pictures are more than welcome. Also post a picture every now and then that you think is good and let us tell you why it isn't... Lol - no, really - post whenever you feel like it. It is better though having a picture accompaigned by a question.

And, welcome here!

EDIT: Sorry for repeating everything allready said.

Last edited by Jonas B; 01-08-2007 at 11:59 AM. Reason: I'm the slowes typist here, for sure.
01-08-2007, 12:07 PM   #10
Site Supporter
Sluggo's Avatar

Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Ames, Iowa
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 603
bounce flash covers a multitude of sins

Lots of good advice above. My $0.02: get your hands on a basic bounce flash unit. There are plenty of them available inexpensively used, though if you go that route you need to make sure the one you get operates at a safe voltage for the camera, which is a whole other topic.

Mine is an old Braun swivel/tilt flash. It has a couple of 'auto' settings, of which I usually choose the lower power one when using it attached to the hot shoe; I go to manual mode on the camera, set 1/180sec, f/5.6, ISO200 and leave everything right there, aim the flash toward some workable bit of ceiling or wall (trial and error for each shooting situation, but you get the hang of that quickly) and start snapping. If I don't like the result I point the flash somewhere else and try again, but generally there's no need to change any camera settings when doing that: the flash takes care of proper exposure because its sensor always faces forward regardless of where its head is pointed, and it adjusts its output according to what it sees reflecting off the subject. And there's no redeye, no harsh shadows, generally no indication that flash was used at all. I just looks like there was "enough light" to begin with.

Once on-camera flash is working reliably for you, then you might want to move on to the really fun stuff.

And like WMBP says, play, play, play. Keep shooting, previewing, deleting. Every click of the shutter is an opportunity to learn something.
01-08-2007, 02:00 PM   #11
Veteran Member




Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: UK
Posts: 643
like a lot of cameras the auto white balance on the k100 makes a pigs ear of tungsten light..

the easy answer is to manually set the white balance to tungsten to help the camera out..

nothing complicated here just the fact the camera is useless at getting tungsten light correct.. u have to set it manually..

auto white balance works with most other things.. but not tungsten..

trog
01-08-2007, 11:36 PM   #12
Veteran Member
Alvin's Avatar

Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Mississauga, Ontario, Canada
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 2,530
Hi Mike,

I'm a K100D user and I am going through the same problem as you. I've tried the index/recipe card trick with other DSLR's to some success - be careful using a flash when set in a custom WB. See the link immediately below.

https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-dslr-discussion/1844-manual-white-balance.html

Also, as others have said previously in response to you, play a lot with your camera. Here's how I play.

I found P mode will sometimes work depending on the lighting. I tool around with the exposure compensation (by holding the Av button and using the thumbdial) depending if lighting is behind the subject (I try +0.7) or in front (-0.3) If I find lighting behind people, I always risk getting extremely bright and distracting backgrounds by using this method. Knowing this, if I find I am at 1 full stop in exposure compensation I shoot anyway and if I don't get a pleasing shot, I dial back to 0 and use a flash, move the subjects or lighting elsewhere, or wait for another opportunity.

After getting some good shots, I review the exifs, and use the values for Av and Tv as a guide for using M or Tv modes. Whenever I adjusted exposure going positive, I dial a slower shutter (Tv by a couple clicks) and, conversely, I dial a faster Tv value for a negative exposure comp.

I don't know enough about Av mode yet to be a good authority, but my understanding is this:
1. A smaller Av value (wider aperture) is much better to use in lower lighting situations (to a certain point) because it allows more light into the camera. More light allows me to shoot with a faster shutter speed (allows me to capture action) or lower ISO setting (I get less noise in my shots).
2. Av, as others have mentioned, lets me play with depth of field (determines how much of my subject and surrounding objects I want to be within focus).

Hope this helps.
01-09-2007, 08:52 AM   #13
Veteran Member
user440's Avatar

Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: St. Louis, MO
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 350
Original Poster
First, thank you to all whom have responded with such articulate and well-constructed advice. Second, holy cow there is a lot of articulate and well-constructed advice. I really need to read up on the Av / Tv functions. This appears to be a good spot for me to start. I've taken about 700 shots so far with a mix between P, M, and auto with about 1/3 in Auto. I think once I can make these topics more tangible by testing with the camera in front of me, it clarify a lot of the mystery.

The advice above really is first rate and will surely aid other newbies going forward. Thanks again.
01-13-2007, 06:51 AM   #14
Senior Member




Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Perth, Western Australia
Posts: 296
User440
May I suggest that you read some of the books written by John Hedgecoe, professor of photography (or at least he was when I last read him) at the Royal College of Art, London.
He would send his first year students out on assignments with a fixed focus, single exposure plastic camera that took only 8 frames on a roll of 120 (or was it 620?) film with the deliberate intention of limiting the variables in order that the students might better appreciate the fundamentals of the effect of light on sensitised material as well as the real basics of composition.
My own experiences with my first Brownie 127 'fixed everything' were certainly most instructive. :-D
I'd reckon that it would be wise for anyone wishing to take up up photography, conventional and/or digital, to begin at the at the very beginning; to go back to the very basics of light and shade and the effect of shape, colour and hue on human emotions.
The medium, in this case photography, is the tool, not the artist; but every artist must study assiduously the tools and skills at his (or her) disposal.
Beginning at the beginning.
It can be such a marvelous journey.
You never know where it might take you.

Last edited by Rolly; 01-13-2007 at 07:03 AM. Reason: Typo
Reply

Bookmarks
  • Submit Thread to Facebook Facebook
  • Submit Thread to Twitter Twitter
  • Submit Thread to Digg Digg
Tags - Make this thread easier to find by adding keywords to it!
camera, dslr, photography, pictures, slr
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Fast Low light lens for Indoor shots with K100D Mathew J Pentax DSLR Discussion 13 06-18-2011 07:20 AM
What's a good, cheap lens for indoor, low light situations? mojoe_24 Pentax DSLR Discussion 31 01-19-2011 12:02 AM
da 35mm 2.4 or fa 50mm 1.4 for indoor shots rtrox Troubleshooting and Beginner Help 27 11-18-2010 04:57 PM
Wanted: Good value indoor portrait lens Black_ronin Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 30 10-27-2010 09:44 AM
A Good Prime For Indoor Shots? LodeRunner Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 22 06-21-2007 05:47 PM



All times are GMT -7. The time now is 07:09 AM. | See also: NikonForums.com, CanonForums.com part of our network of photo forums!
  • Red (Default)
  • Green
  • Gray
  • Dark
  • Dark Yellow
  • Dark Blue
  • Old Red
  • Old Green
  • Old Gray
  • Dial-Up Style
Hello! It's great to see you back on the forum! Have you considered joining the community?
register
Creating a FREE ACCOUNT takes under a minute, removes ads, and lets you post! [Dismiss]
Top