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Painting Tips and Photography tips
February 12, 2009
Hello

A common problem when shooting scenes with both inside and outside subjects. Either everything inside is dark in the resulting photo, or everything outside is too bright.

When a photo has a high dynamic range. That is, they have bright sunlight and dark shadows. It is impossible with current technology to have both parts of the photo correctly exposed.

While you canít eliminate the problem entirely, there are a couple of choices you can make to minimze the problem.

Recompose The Photo

This is probably the simplest solution. Take a photo of a scene with very bright and very dark parts, move your camera to eliminate one of the extremes ie either close curtains for the shot, or take the photo from the window looking inside.

Use Exposure Lock

If you canít recompose the photograph, instead tell the camera what part of the image you would like to see. The rest of the photo will be either over or under exposed (too bright or too dark) but at least you will see your subject. You can do this by placing the center of the image at your subject; half depressing the shutter to lock the focus and exposure; move the camera to re-compose the image; and fully depress the shutter.

Some cameras have an option called íspot meteringí to set the part of the image youíd like to be correctly exposed. If your camera has this setting, enable it before using the technique above.

Use Fill In Flash

If your scene has a sunny background, but your subject is in the shade (or has a hat on), turn on the flash. I know it seems wrong but it really does work! By using the flash, your subject will look as bright as the background.

Use a Filter

If your scene is of a bright sky and a dark ground (for instance at sunset, or on a cloudy day), you can use a graduated neutral density filter. This filter cuts out some of the light from one part of the photo (the sky). This will correctly expose the ground and the sky. These filters can be complex to setup, so I donít usually recommend them for beginners.

Fix The Original Photo in an Image Editing Program

Finally, if you canít take another shot at the same location, you can fix the original image by changing the levels using a paint program. This works best when your subject is darker than the rest of the photo (because cameras lose detail in over-bright areas). The darker the subject, the harder time you will have fixing the image."

David discusses exactly how to use this technique in lesson 2 of his free Image Editing Secrets course. He has a tutorial for Photoshop, Photoshop Elements, Paint Shop Pro and the free Google Picassa.

PAINTING TIP NO.03-2009

Techniques are useful tools to learn but your style will become apparent as soon as you understand that you need to produce not the likeness of a scene or object, but an account of how you as an artist, relate to it
Thanks to Bob Brandt, issue: A&I March 2006


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