Wednesday, December 15, 2010

using available light

At times, a flash is inconvenient or even not available. So how do we maximize the light that we have? First of all, use the lowest f-stop you can while still maintaining a good focal length (see this link for more on f-stops and focal length)

The bigger the aperture (the lower the f-stop number: like 3.5 or 2.8 or even 1.4) the more light we let in. So we are able to use the available light. In addition, we can increase the ISO to around 800 to 1250 (or even to 1600)

Camera set on A (aperture priority) So with these 2 preparations, we are ready to capture some images. Wait, we need a setting and a subject. So, I took my kids... naturally. I put them in a reflected light. The sun was coming through the window and bouncing off of our white fridge. It was actually a little hot (too bright) but it worked. At first, my images were too bright because my light meter was set on "spot metering". Because the center of the image was darker, it overexposed the reflected light. To fix that, simply put the metering to "matrix metering" and it should compensate for that light.

Place the subject out of the direct light coming in, or you will get hot spots like this image...
From 20101212

Move the subject so that the back of their head is in the direct light and it looks like this...

From 20101212

Move them out of the direct light all together...
From 20101212

And finally, one more...
From 20101212

So, the pick of the day will be a different setting. Subject with one light coming through the window. Window at 2 o-clock and photographer at 6 o-clock.
From 20101212
Same settings used on the camera for all shots.

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