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Poor lighting setup or incorrect exposure.

I have had the following photos rejected due to

"Poor lighting setup or incorrect exposure."

Can you kind people please help a beginning photographer improve his work by commenting in more detail:

1. Exactly what is wrong with each picture (too dark, too light, saturated)

2. Can this be corrected with Photoshop?

3. What I did wrong, so I don't make the same mistake again.

Thank you all in advance.

 Image not available or id is incorrect. 


 Parthenon - Greece 
Edited: 03/17/2005, 08:19:18 AM
My opinion:

Photo 1:

The shadows are too strong, lighting is not even. Also the angle limits the photos usefulness, otherwise could be a very sueful photo. Because of the strong shadow areas that should have more detail do not. These areas have too much contrast. Try Different Angles with even lighting.

Photo 2:

It looks as though you metered off the bridge, by doing this areas that should have more detail have too much contrast and the sky is too bright. This is a tricky shot because of the shadows. The entire left side has no detail. Definitely try this shot again if possible. Very nice structure.

Photo 3:

This shot most likely showed proper exposure in the camera. Once again too many shadows causing loss of detail in trees and chruch. Also the angle is a little distracting. But the structure is nice, defitely take another shot.
80 - 200mm AF-D, Nikon 300mm AF-S, Sigma 18 - 70mm DX, Nikon 50mm P...
Edited: 03/17/2005, 10:35:17 AM
1. object with lots of detail like this might be shot on a tripod at smallest f stop (11, 16, 22, 32) OR get much closer and just shoot a chunk of it revealing the texture of the object and the detail of it's artistry and letting go of trying to show the whole thing (as though it were being sold in a catalogue). this is a highly symbolic object-keep the usefulness of this symbolism in mind when shooting: dragon, ship,asian...these things have many values for a stock buyer beyond the object itself. (power,travel,mysticism,wealth,ancient time,history, etc.)

2. can't figure out what the pix is about-it doesn't really say anything...sign is pointing somewhere but leads the eye to nothing-a blank hill. maybe you could have put the sign at the far left and used the bridge to be a metaphor for "going somewhere". practice flowing compostions or at leat center weighted composition.

3. image is slightly angeled but for no reason so it distracts. tree sorta blocks the building-get closer...or further away-maybe up high on a building across the street.

the camera is far more limited then your imagination. your brain is a marvelous tool that witnesses the soul of what your looking at but the camera is just a machine. you've really got to go beyond your idea that the camera understands you... Snap,then snap again, come back the next day-keep trying different approaches to the same subjext. your style will emerge. I'd reshoot all three images again and again until you capture the feeling you have for the subject. You need to teach your camera how to express what you feel about the world.

good luck!

1 mind, 2 eyes and a heart....
Posted: 03/17/2005, 10:02:10 AM
Beautiful words Elena...I won't comment on the pics, because I don't really have the expertise that others have, but I just 'had' to thank you for sharing your captivating visions and such beautiful words with us. THANKS!
Canon 5D Mark II and a Mac :)
Posted: 1 minute ago
It appears to me that you are letting the camera meter whereever you point it. You have to find the mid-toned color in your shot and meter off that....something that is comparable to 18% grey. These colors can be green grass, the red in autumn leaves or hills, or even blue jeans, as long as the light hitting that color is the same light hitting your subject.

In Photo 1, it looks like you used an on-camera flash and the light hit the white wall and fell off on the sides and bottom of the photo. Try shooting with the camera on a tripod and NO flash. If you can set you camera to manual, meter off the green part of the image, set the camera to those settings, and compose the shot. Then, try shooting with the flash on, but softened with a piece of tissue paper or bounced off the ceiling or light wall. You will have to add 1-2 stops to your exposure. Experiment to see which one looks best.

In Photo 2 it looks like the camera metered off a lighter area. Maybe by metering off the grey colored building in the right hand corner, you would have had a better exposure with details in the highlights and shadows. Sometimes with a very contrasty scene, you will have to let either the highlights blow out or let the shadows go dark. The human eye and brain is accostomed to seeing dark in the shadows, so I would let the shadows be darker and try to get details in the highlights.

I like the church in Photo 3. It is very beautiful and has a great design. I would try to meter off the brown door where the sunlight hits it. That would be a mid-toned color and should give you your best exposure. If possible, try to get inside the fence. I think this image would be great without the fence, sidewalk and other objects that could be distracting. And, I agree with the others to straighten out the image. In most compositions, horizons should be straight. It is more pleasing to the viewer. But, of course, rules can be broken!!

Keep shooting and try every angle and composition you can think of with each subject or scene you want to shoot. Also, try a vertical and horizontal of the same subject/scene. It's surprising to see how different a scene will look when you turn the camera. Also, place your subjects off center, high in the frame, or low in the frame.

There are a couple of good books that could help you with exposure and compositional elements. One is "Perfect Exposure" by Jim Zuckerman. He tells you how he shot and metered each image in the book. Also, he put circles on the part of the photo he metered from. Bryan Peterson has two excellent books: "Understanding Exposure" and "Learning To See Creatively". I have taken classes with both of these photographers and they give excellent advice and their photos are some of the best you will see. In class, Bryan would always ask if we did the horizontal shot before or after we took the vertical one!
Sony 16-35mm, Canon 7D, Canon 20D, Canon SX20 IS, Canon SX10 IS, Cano...
Posted: 1 minute ago
Thank you all for your advice and insight.

I am just starting on the learning curve of realizing just how crucial lighting is, and I have a tendency (which I have to correct) of just pointing and shooting without regard to proper metering.

The advice has been very practical and most appreciated!
Posted: 03/18/2005, 05:16:00 AM
You're welcome!! Just remember, that photography is an on-going learning experience. There is always something new to learn!!!! But, that's what makes it fun and interesting.
Sony 16-35mm, Canon 7D, Canon 20D, Canon SX20 IS, Canon SX10 IS, Cano...
Posted: 03/18/2005, 08:35:04 AM