Good Morning Everybody,
After our rainy weekend, the last few days have been picture perfect. I'm working through my edits for my latest Kelby Training video due out shortly, helped my daughter polish here resume' to get off to prospective summer employers in NYC. Liz is attending PACE University and loves living in New York City. LaDawn’s hand continues to heal with her ability to additional functionality and use. I contacted some of my vendor buddies about a little project that I keep hinting about and launching next week. So things are good.
Great Food For Your Brain
Hey, before we get to today's post I want to point you towards some great learning experiences coming your way. Normally I'd post these on Quick Hit Monday, but the information kept coming fast and furious and some are opportunities have limited attendance. So check them out and see if there might be a fit for you. Here we go...
Left Brain Right Brain Tour: [link]
.... This revolutionary and ground-breaking new seminar, taught by two of the world’s most sought-after and beloved instructors, Ken Sklute and Mitche Graf, will show you how to “fuse” your art and business minds together to make a one dynamite package!....
Mitch and Ken are good friends of mine whom I've known for years. Definitely, check out their program right here. And, for your $49 bucks you get $500 worth of goodies for attending. They are about 1/2 way through their tour so catch them when they get to a city near you. They're heading to the west coast next week. I wish they were coming to Cincy ;~(
Marathon Press Design And Marketing Seminar: [link]
This program is coming up June 14th and 15th. LaDawn and I attended this program a few years ago over at the home office of Marathon Press. It was wonderful - just jammed packed full of great ideas. This seminar is limited to ONLY 12 studios! Here is the link to all the info. Jump on this one quick if you are interested.
That's the easy update around here so let's get on with today's post. I think you are going to like the "hand tricks” we're pulling off today. Here we go...
Perfectly Perfect Exposure - It's All In The Hands
I've spent a lot of time discussing exposure in my seminars, workshops, and my new book. Too many people rely just on the camera's auto exposure system and let it to do all the work. When shooting weddings you've got to be a bit more careful in nailing the exposure, especially the off-camera flash photographs.
Remember, I always shoot ALL my flash exposures with the camera set to manual so I've got to nail the exposure. If you blow it, you just may over-expose all the detail away from the beautiful gown - not a good thing. A similar situation can occur when photographing the groom and groomsmen. Those guys are always wearing those dark tuxes. If you're not careful, you can easily "blow out" the shirts too.
The easy way to be sure your exposure is "dead on" is by using my "blinky" method of exposure. I simply include a "diffuse white", like the bride's gown in the test shot, make my exposure, check for "blinkies" in the dress, and adjust the exposure downward if I see any.
OK, what are these darn "blinkies" I'm talking about? Simple - it's the blinking area of your camera's LCD screen that indicates "overexpose" when you enable highlight alert on your camera. If you see "blinkies" on the bride's gown or any diffuse white area in the scene, your histogram graph is banging up against the right hand side axis - or said differently, you are overexposing the whites in the scene.
Hit the “Read More…” link below for the rest of the article.
After I get the "blinkies" under control I check the histogram again. I want those diffuse highlights to land about 1/3 of the way into the fifth section as shown on my Canon camera. Nikon shooters have four section histograms so on a Nikon, I would suggest you let the diffuse white hit about 1/2 way into that fourth section.
Why do I do this? Simple – I’m making an Ansel Adams Zone System work into determining my correct exposure. Ansel always exposed for Zone 9 so that he preserved all the detail in his white tonalities. It turns out that if you have the diffuse whites as shown on your histogram hit about 1/3 of the way into that fifth section, you are exposing your whites just the way Ansel did, into Zone 9 - pretty cool.
So if you take my advice, you can rest assured that your exposures will be perfect for every shot. So what do you do when you don't have a "diffuse white" in the scene? Robert Ash, one of my Digital Master Class attendees last week, came up with a really handy - no pun intended - solution to the matter. I'll let him tell you in his own words below in his article, "The Ultimate Portable Light Meter."
The Ultimate Portable Light Meter
It can be tricky to monitor light levels without a meter. If you're shooting a wedding that happens to include neutral tones like white clothing (a wedding dress, etc.) then metering on diffuse whites until highlight warnings disappear like David Ziser does is very effective. But what if there are no diffuse whites in the scene - or what if there are no other neutral colors at all in the scene you're photographing? Or what if no one in the wedding or portrait is wearing white?
One easy answer is literally in the palm of your hand. It turns out that the human palm is the world's most convenient - and most portable - light meter. Also, it turns out the human palm is not only accurate but consistent because, regardless of the overall color of any of our skin, the palms of everyone's hands are about the same brightness or reflectivity.
To use your palm to measure exposure properly:
Put the palm of your hand in the same light that's falling on the subject (if your palms are sweating you can wipe them on your clothes first to prevent specular highlights from influencing the reading).
Zoom in on the palm of your hand until your palm completely fills the frame (make sure no shadow from your lens or lens shade is visible in the frame).
Focus on infinity (this will prevent the lines of your hand from influencing the meter reading).
Lock in your meter reading or memorize the exposure reading for your palm.
Then open up one stop. Your exposure will now be correct.
The reason this works is because, for any scene or color they are metering, camera meters always try to expose that scene so it has the same brightness as a middle gray. A middle gray is a gray whose brightness value is halfway between black and white. An evenly-lit human palm which fills the frame is one stop brighter than a middle gray (for those familiar with the Zone System, the human palm is at Zone 6 and middle gray is at Zone 5). Because the meter will set the exposure so your palm will have a middle gray brightness - one stop lower than the palm's actual brightness - opening up one stop from that reading gives the correct brightness and therefore the correct exposure.
Once you have one object at the correct exposure, all the other objects under the same lighting will also be exposed correctly, just as if you were metering off a neutral - like a white wedding dress.
Hey Robert, pretty fancy hand trick and great tip! Thanks a bunch. Hey gang, be sure to check out Robert's website right here. He also has some beautiful landscape photography right here - definitely take a peek. And lastly, he just posted some of his images from my Master Class - you can check them out right here you will clearly see what a great time we had last week.
What struck me about the tip was the fact that any hand will work regardless of which part of the world you hail from. I guess I always knew that, but tying it to an exposure technique - very clever.
Hey gang, that's it for me today. Plan to stop back tomorrow for another money making episode of Business Day Thursday.
See ya' then, -David