Photography Tip of the Week

Photo Tip: #3 Take brilliant snow photos.

Shadows

I shoot a lot of outside winter venues so when I’m venturing out with my camera to capture the snow, I’m reminded of how tricky it can be to shoot for good results.I thought I’d share one simple tip for getting better photos in snow.

So here goes…

Obviously, we all know that snow is bright and white. Your camera, however, responds to the brightness by averaging everything out to give an overall “middle gray” picture.  That’s why, with bright white snow, you’ll often end up with an under-exposed, or dark, photo.

To compensate, tell your camera to over-expose. With snow, I typically over-expose at least one full stop and, sometimes, as much as two. Some factors that will determine how much you over-expose include the amount of snow in the shot, the time of day, and anything else of different shades and colors in the composition.

Now, there’s some subjectivity involved in all photography, of course, where personal taste and style play a major role… and snow is no exception.

But, if the photographer wanted to get a brighter shot, telling the camera to over-expose will result in a more professional image…

As I mentioned earlier, there’s always some subjectivity in how bright or dark you’ll want your shots to be. But simply learning how to understand your camera and using it to create the desired outcome is critical.

When shooting in snow, the general rule of thumb is to over-expose anywhere from one to two stops.
And, if your camera has a mode specifically for snow, go ahead and use it — it’ll take

the guesswork out for you.

Whispering


Photo Tip: #2

So what does fast mean?

Fast, when talking about a lens, actually refers to the greatest amount of light the lens will let in.

Think of it this way…

If your camera needs more light to hit the digital sensor in order to make a correctly exposed image, then it has three choices:

1) It can open up your aperture and let more light in through the lens…

2) It can slow down your shutter speed and let the light that’s coming in from your lens sit on the digital sensor for a longer amount of time…

3) It can speed up the “film speed” or ISO on digital cameras.

So if your camera measures the light in the room and thinks it needs an aperture reading of 1.4 but your lens only opens to 5.6, it’ll slow your shutter speed to get the shot. And a slow shutter speed — if you’re hand holding your camera — will give you a blurry image.

Most photographers consider a fast lens to be one that will open up to at least f-2.8.

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Photo Tip: #1 Brighten Up

Most of the time your camera is fairly accurate. But what happens if you have a once-in-a-lifetime shot that’s underexposed? Is there a way to save it? The basic answer is yes – or you can at least make it better.

Obviously, you’d rather get the exposure correct — or as close to perfection as possible — before you take the picture. But today, we are assuming that isn’t possible. So let’s look at how you can fix the shot in Photoshop for better results.

In this case, the fix is simple and uses the same tools I recommend using for all your pictures (for more information about digitally developing all of your photos.

A quick Levels and Curves adjustment should solve the exposure issue in the shot. Here’s how:

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