There is something truly magical about the warm glow of shooting sunrise or sunset photography. The gloriously intense colours often inspire photographers to pick up their cameras, but how many times of you been disappointed by your results? Use these tips for fine-tuning exposure and white balance so you never again shoot sunset photography with washed-out colours.
Understanding exposure can be confusing, so allow us to break it down and start with the basics. When taking photographs, an image is recorded by light reaching your digital camera’s sensor. Here we explain the different ways your camera uses light to produce a well-exposed scene.
Spot metering mode is great for precise exposure readings, and can be a godsend when you’re shooting in tricky light. But the skill lies in deciding which part of the scene to take the reading from in the first place. Practice makes perfect, so try this exercise and see how you do…
Multiple exposure is an old technique that was enjoyed by photographers long before digital cameras came along. The process involves exposing two or more images onto one frame so that there’s a multi-layered effect, with parts of both images revealed on top of each other. This used to be achieved by disengaging the film advance and taking two shots on the same piece of film.
Obviously, there’s no film advance on a digital SLR, but many cameras have a digital version of the feature built in, which is easily accessible from the menu. Even if your digital camera doesn’t have that component, you can still achieve the same effect by combining two images in Photoshop and blending the layers together.
In this project, we’ve used the multiple exposure technique with a little twist: both images are essentially the same, we’ve just moved the camera a fraction between the two shots. This creates a painterly, almost impressionistic view
of the woods for a cool, artistic effect.
For the finishing touch, we’ve added a monochromatic warm tone. So let’s
see how it’s done…
If you have a new digital camera, or if you’re new to digital photography, all hose abbreviations on the top dial of your camera might seem a bit confusing. Your top dial is where you will find your camera’s exposure modes.
Contrary to popular belief, the exposure modes you shoot with aren’t a reflection of your technical ability. Your exposure mode of choice is also about selecting a mode that gives you the freedom to stop worrying about other settings and start concentrating on taking great shots.
Auto-exposure bracketing enables you to automatically take a series of shots at different exposure settings. By changing the shutter speed (or aperture), the camera brackets the original exposure in preset increments (usually between 1/3 to two stops) to capture three or more successive shots. Bracketing ensures a correct exposure in situations when you need to shoot quickly and you don’t have time to check the histogram.
Auto-exposure bracketing makes this process much easier because it allows you to take a series of frames from precisely the same position (so that overlapping frames will align correctly) with different exposure settings to record both highlight and shadow detail.
No matter how smart your camera’s built-in light meter, it will sometimes under- or over-expose. You can learn to compensate for such errors, but there’s a more accurate and reliable method – using a hand held light meter, such as the Sekonic L-308S hand held light meter shown here.
When using your DSLR’s internal light meter you’re measuring the light reflected from the subject, and the camera assumes that the tones in the scene will average out to a mid-grey. This is fine for most subjects, but when the subject is mainly white or black, the meter will set an exposure to record this as grey. So with white subjects you’ll end up with an under-exposed shot, and with black subjects you’ll end up with an over-exposed shot.
Do you view your memory card as half empty or half full? Don’t let poorly exposed pictures get you down. In the latest of our infographics that aim to explain some photography basics in a different way, we’ve provided you with this useful chart for understanding exposure. Someone very clever on our team had the idea of comparing exposure to filling a cup with water.
Drag and drop this graphic on to your desktop and start getting better exposures today!
Waterfall pictures are some of the most satisfying subjects you can shoot with your digital camera. However, the fast moving water throws up some challenges for photographers.
Often, exposures end up disappointing – you may have set the wrong shutter speed, for instance, and won’t get the traditional blurred-water effect in your waterfall pictures. Other times the exposure ends up being too dark or light, due to having to cope with the combination of dark rocks and bright, foamy moving water.
Exposure blending enables you to mix images to get perfectly exposed skies, not always from the same scene. It’s not only a simple way of making HDR images, but it’s also a way of making more realistic-looking HDR images.
The process when shooting is simple and most cameras have a built-in Bracketing feature to aid you further. It’s crucial that one image captures the detail of the sky and the other that of the foreground – then you use Layers and Masks to blend the two.