Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Tip of the day: Mind your Background Exposure

Kate. The Grotto.

Goddamnit. Goddamnit. Goddamnit.

That's what I said today after seeing the images on my camera when I didn't mind my background exposure.

The primary issue is dynamic range. A background with an extreme exposure range usually looks bad. Blown highlights next to dark shadows usually = EPIC FAIL.

The above image of Kate was balanced in-post tremendously to be presentable. In its original state, I almost deleted it. Hell, if it weren't for the fact I captioned it "The Grotto", this image might not even make sense.

The issue as I mentioned is usually dynamic range. To our eyeballs a sun-soaked ocean in the same frame as a shaded piece of rock looks just fine. To the Nikon D3 sensor, it's basically a blown-out patch of white next to a lost patch of black. So if you only mind your subject's exposure (in this case Kate, who has been properly exposed), you're going to wind up with an epic fail on your hands when you get home and find a large blown highlight next to a large black patch of shadow.

Mind your background exposure in capture so you don't wind up cussing yourself out later in post!

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