One for CC - Exposure/Color

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StateChick's picture
Joined: 03/22/07
Posts: 3629
One for CC - Exposure/Color

This is typical of a lot of my photos...underexposed, right? I usually try to do the evaluative metering (if that is what it is called -2, -1, 0, +1, +2), but I think for these I just had it on 0 - it was about 45 minutes before sunset, but kind of overcast.

I actually did "edit" this, but it looks strangely similar to the sooc. Actually, I think it looks worse. :rolleyes:

Edit 1 by StateChick2003, on Flickr

So on this one I tried to "correct color for skin tone," but it seems too yellow to me. Is it any better? Is both the exposure and wb off in these?

Edit 2 by StateChick2003, on Flickr

I believe I did unsharp mask/a slight color curve adjustment maybe -- did that on both edits.

This was my second day shooting in raw. I'm not sure what the histogram should look like for a properly exposed picture and how much I can move the exposure slider when I'm open in this view.

I know the ultimate goal is to take good pics sooc...maybe some day!

Also, I know I'm not calibrated on this laptop, but it is my only option right now. Am I wasting my time if I'm not calibrated? I was showing MIL some pics at her house, on her ginormous desktop monitor and my pictures looked completely different than I see them (and awful, at that!).

eta: I did an online calibration test and I am WAYYYY off, from what I can gather. I brightened my monitor a lot and that may have helped a little. Here is edit #3...are any of these even close? In this one I tried to fix the wb in acr, I did NOT adjust for skin tone, did unsharp mask and added a little saturation/contrast.

Edit 3 by StateChick2003, on Flickr

Joined: 01/18/06
Posts: 402

His face looks much better in the last photo, and I really like the catchlights. I might try masking and darking the sleeve that's in the sunlight; it appears a little blown in the last photo. Other than that, I like the composition, although if it's not too much time and effort, it might be worthwhile to clone out the white pole in the background (not really a big deal though). Cute picture!

Joined: 04/23/06
Posts: 485

I think you're definitely getting closer with that last one. I am so horrible at skin tones though...if I don't get it right in-camera, there's pretty much no hope for me! Smile

Someone once gave me this really good tip though...look at great photos online (maybe some of your favorite photographers or a photo blog), find a pic where you like the skin tone/feel, and refer to it when editing your own pic(s). It will give you a good reference point instead of just letting your brain try to figure the whole thing out. Hope that helps! Biggrin

EL2's picture
Joined: 12/05/07
Posts: 1665

It would help if you can include your camera setting for this picture. ISO, aperture, SS.

Joined: 03/18/06
Posts: 391

The last one is definitely the closest as far as wb, but the face seems a tad red. Did you use the dropper tool on a white or black part of the picture? Also, looking at your picture in ACR, I can see your SS was way too slow--I would have closed up that ap quite a bit, and if that wasn't possible, up your ISO so that your SS is at least 1/125. One thing I do in ACR is to move my dropper right over the cheeks and forehead of my subject. This will tell you if any of your skin areas are either blown or underexposed. Are you familiar with the RGB numbers shown at the top? I like to see my (R) numbers right around 230 to know that I have the skin perfectly exposed.
Also, when you are talking about evaluative metering...are you talking about the meter when you're in manual mode? or are you using aperture priority and using the +/- button (called exposure compensation)?
Good for you for practicing and posting for CC! That's the best way to learn!

StateChick's picture
Joined: 03/22/07
Posts: 3629

Oops, forgot to post settings!

Yes, just realized ss was way too low at 1/60 | iso 200 | f/6.3 ...

I don't think I made the connection that upping my iso would increase my shutter speed. One of the reasons I haven't been using Manual right now is because I couldn't figure out how to make my ss go up. I've been in P or AP mode unless I have really great light.

Let's see, I thought I had read that 255 was blown, but I wasn't sure which letter I was looking at. Is anything above 230 getting blown?

How do I reduce the redness?

And also, yep...must be using exposure compensation.

I guess in the future I should really work on my pictures not being so underexposed sooc.

THANK YOU for your help with this!

eta: And the focus here fell on the swing rope, not on his eyes...right? I have lots of questions about focus, too - maybe that will be my next post!

Joined: 03/18/06
Posts: 391

I'm guessing you didn't get great focus because your SS was too low. Having a fast enough SS makes all the difference in the world when it comes to having a crisp picture. Obviously there are a few other factors as well, but I'm guessing that was your problem with this picture.
Yes, 255 on the red channel is blown. Like I said, I like to keep my skintones right around 230...sometimes 240...but being TOO close to 255 makes for a very bright picture...sometimes too bright.
I think most people know this about me, but I shoot everything in AP mode. I know HOW to shoot in manual, but for me, shooting in AP mode plus using the exposure compensation gives me the same results, and for me it's easier. The trick, though, is knowing when to use the exposure compensation and learning to read your histogram. Basically you are still overriding the camera's thoughts on how to take your picture, just like you would in manual. I know a few AMAZING photogs that use this same method--I think it's just what you're comfortable with.

There are several ways to reduce redness. The method I'd probably use on your picture is just to use a hue/saturation levels layer, and pull a tad of the red out. You can then mask out the background to ensure that only the face is being pulled from. It's easy to go too much when doing it this way don't want to end up with gray skin just pull a bit out.

Hope this helps! Maybe someone else can chime in about how THEY pull red out of skintones! I'd love to know how everyone else does it!

Muddee's picture
Joined: 03/13/08
Posts: 2119

I am on a non-calibrated monitor, on it #3 looks the best.

lilsoph's picture
Joined: 04/22/07
Posts: 221

i think the last one looks the best too