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View Full Version : I hate overexposure!


HPS3
04-26-2011, 10:37 PM
I have a T2i with the 18-135 IS and 50 f1.8. I shoot alot of pics outdoors and on sunny days. It seems no matter what I do as far as shutter speed, aperture, iso sometimes I cant avoid overexposure. I usually use evaluative metering. If I set my exposure on the background my subject is underexposed and if I set it on my subject my background sky will get blown out. Is there anything to do to avoid this problem. should I just make sure my subject is properly exposed and dont worry about the background.

zackiedawg
04-26-2011, 11:27 PM
Without knowing your specific camera, but being very accustomed to shooting with cameras that tend to overexpose by default, here are my suggestions - try them out and see if they work for you as well as they do for me...I've used these techniques and settings through 4 different cameras and it's always given me dead-on accurate, reliable metering.

First, I'd use 'center weighted' metering mode rather than evaluative. I find it tends to do a better job of allowing your subject to get metering priority, but still metering the whole scene as needed - you may still get slight blown backgrounds, but will almost never get underexposed subjects.

Second, I'd dial in some EV compensation - usually it doesn't take much. With my last few cameras, I have used - 0.3 of EV dialed in all the time...that combined with center-weighted metering seems to handle the backgrounds just enough in tough lighting to avoid bad blowout, and still getting subjects properly metered.

Third, I'd try using your dynamic or automatic lighting compensation mode - not sure what Canon calls theirs or which settings it has available to it - but these are usually modes designed to recover underexposed shadow areas a bit in tricky lighting. By center-weighting then intentionally dialing in EV for underexposure, it allows you to handle highlights nicely, while the dynamic range optimization/lighting control function brings up the underexposed bits, with the end result usually being a very nicely metered scene even with very mixed lighting.

Those are my 'all the time' settings. Of course, depending on how bad the mixed lighting is, and how challenging the highlights and shadows, you might just be pushing beyond the capability of your camera to capture the scene - in which case you have to move to another solution - using either fill flash to illuminate a subject against a bright background by metering that background and letting the flash illuminate the subject, or taking multiple shots and stacking them in post processing for an HDR which can handle the greater dynamic range.

disneyboy2003
04-26-2011, 11:35 PM
I have a T2i with the 18-135 IS and 50 f1.8. I shoot alot of pics outdoors and on sunny days. It seems no matter what I do as far as shutter speed, aperture, iso sometimes I cant avoid overexposure. I usually use evaluative metering. If I set my exposure on the background my subject is underexposed and if I set it on my subject my background sky will get blown out. Is there anything to do to avoid this problem. should I just make sure my subject is properly exposed and dont worry about the background.

Yeah, this is one of the reasons why it's so tough to take pictures in bright sunny days. Ideally, you'd try to take pictures either in the early morning or in the late afternoon, when the light outside is a lot more even. Or try to take pictures in cloudy, overcast days for the same reason.

For bright, sunny days, you'll need to use your flash as "fill flash" (yes, you use your flash during bright sunny days!). You let your camera expose for the background. (As you've already found out, this might make your subject underexposed if your subject is in the shade.)

You use your camera's flash to "fill in" the light on your shaded subject. If you have an external flash, this works even better because of the more powerful light from an external flash.

That's why I always bring an external flash to Disney World, regardless of whether I'm shooting during the bright sunny day or at night.

VVFF
04-27-2011, 05:51 AM
Your problem is one common to all cameras. There are multiple ways to fix the issue, some more simple than others.

The easiest is as was described before...use fill flash if you have a subject that is at a fairly close distance. This won't work for landscapes as the flash will "fall off" in brightness over distance.

Next there is HDR, this takes some time to learn and results CAN look cartoony(some people seem to like this effect) but results can also look natural if processed with a restrained editing hand.

Then there is filters. You can use a gradual neutral density filter. Where it shades the sky more than the ground. This takes a lot of time to setup and usually best done on a tripod.

There is also a CPL or circular polarizer. It's use is more limited, it only really works when shooting 90 degrees from the suns location. However, if it happens to line up with your shot it can darken the skies 1 to 2 stops and this will allow you to bring up the exposure of the ground 1-2 stops. This is the easiest solution, but one that won't always work.

photo_chick
04-27-2011, 09:24 AM
I have a T2i with the 18-135 IS and 50 f1.8. I shoot alot of pics outdoors and on sunny days. It seems no matter what I do as far as shutter speed, aperture, iso sometimes I cant avoid overexposure. I usually use evaluative metering. If I set my exposure on the background my subject is underexposed and if I set it on my subject my background sky will get blown out. Is there anything to do to avoid this problem. should I just make sure my subject is properly exposed and dont worry about the background.

Yep. Digital cameras lack the dynamic range to get it all. My personal rule is always expose for the subject. I also tend to bracket when I have a large difference between sun and shade. That way I have some options and can merge things in post if I want to.

KAT4DISNEY
04-27-2011, 12:56 PM
Third, I'd try using your dynamic or automatic lighting compensation mode - not sure what Canon calls theirs or which settings it has available to it - but these are usually modes designed to recover underexposed shadow areas a bit in tricky lighting. By center-weighting then intentionally dialing in EV for underexposure, it allows you to handle highlights nicely, while the dynamic range optimization/lighting control function brings up the underexposed bits, with the end result usually being a very nicely metered scene even with very mixed lighting.


Looks like that is either Highlight Tone Priority or Auto Lighting Optimizer if you have one of the newer Canons. I use my camera's version of it a lot to deal with strong sunlight.

bob100
04-27-2011, 04:55 PM
I have a T2i with the 18-135 IS and 50 f1.8. I shoot alot of pics outdoors and on sunny days. It seems no matter what I do as far as shutter speed, aperture, iso sometimes I cant avoid overexposure. I usually use evaluative metering. If I set my exposure on the background my subject is underexposed and if I set it on my subject my background sky will get blown out. Is there anything to do to avoid this problem. should I just make sure my subject is properly exposed and dont worry about the background.


Try using center weighted exposure mode and shoot in RAW, you can more easily adjust exposure problems with the raw file before converting to jpg.

HPS3
04-27-2011, 04:59 PM
Thanx for all the help I'll try To follow the tips