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histogram with flash

William Rubin , Oct 03, 2005; 09:43 p.m.

I've taken some time off from shooting and was testing today with my Nikon D100 and Sunpak 555. The histogram touched the right side of the graph but didn't bunch completely on the right side. The whites in the scene blinked as if overexposed. To avoid that though the rest of the image would have been under exposed.

Is it normal for the histogram to touch the right side as long as the entire data isn't pushed into the right side? Let's say it's a white wedding dress...Is it normal for some of the white to blink as long as the majority of the dress isn't blinking/overexposed?

ThÄnks!

Responses

Jim Strutz - Anchorage, AK , Oct 03, 2005; 10:31 p.m.

I often let some small white areas to get overblown, but I try not to let it happen to a wedding dress.

Patrick Lockwood , Oct 04, 2005; 03:42 a.m.

Normal is not a good word to use. Common? Well, it is easy to do if you are not careful in digital photography. You don't want the histogram to be bunched up on the right side. For better prints, you want it to fall on the right corner, or very close to it. But If a little bit is blinking on the dress, I wouldn't worry too much about it.

Patrick

William Rubin , Oct 04, 2005; 10:20 a.m.

Thanks for both your replies. I am trying to get better exposure in the camera to avoid post production time which has hurt me in the past.

Patrick- Your weddng pics are great. I love the color! What do you shoot with? How to you get such nice fill?

For anyone - When I'm outside I set the camera to the natural light. (Let's say 125 @ f8.) Then I set the flash (Sunpak 555) in auto to f5.6 for fill. Is there a better way?

There's a problem when I'm following people shooting up close, far away, action shots, etc. If the subject is walking towards me the flash becomes too much as they get close. I don't have an easy solution and I lose shots checking everything constantly. How can I keep the fill constant with moving subjects?

Dave Yuhas , Oct 04, 2005; 11:14 a.m.

Auto flash or TTL comes to mind.

Jim Strutz - Anchorage, AK , Oct 04, 2005; 12:42 p.m.

Dave, He's using autoflash on the 555.

"Is there a better way?" That's how I normally do it, but you might want to reduce the flash's auto range to f/4. -1 stop of fill flash is generally considered quite a bit. You might like -2 better.

Sometimes autoflash overexposes at close distances. Most autoflash units are fairly consistent in the way they do this, so with a little experimenting you can figure out how much to compensate for a given distance range. Then you just close the aperture a bit as the subject gets closer. The problem is maintaining proper ambient exposure while you're closing your aperture. You can set the camera to Av mode & let the camera's meter control your shutter, but then you stand a chance that the shutter speed will go higher than it's top sync speed.

The other method is to change the flash's auto range as the subject distance decreases.

Personally, I find it easier to set a low fill ratio to start with (-2), and as the subject gets closer there isn't as much problem.

Nadine Ohara - SF Bay Area/CA , Oct 04, 2005; 03:47 p.m.

I agree completely with Jim re autoflash response. Also, autoflash sometimes overexposes outside. Normally (indoors) it does fine at distances of about 6 to 12 feet. Beyond that it tends to underexpose, short of that it tends to overexpose. If your subject is standing against a light/white wall, it tends to underexpose. Outside, it tends to overexpose because it is dependent on the reflection of it's own flash to quench the flash when it thinks your subject has gotten enough light. Outside, there is generally lots of light, so it gets a little confused.

It is also just plain difficult to not get the blinkies on the histogram outside in bright sun. The small amount of fill flash needed to open up shadows is enough to send some of the gown, and especially veil if backlit, over the edge. Very small amounts of overexposed white are fine, I think. If in doubt, pull the exposure back slightly and then bring the rest of the detail up in post processing. If you shoot jpegs, you just have to be more careful about exposure, and possibly avoid bright sun situations as much as possible.

Ben Rubinstein - Manchester UK , Oct 05, 2005; 05:55 p.m.

Often the dress will have shiny bits on it, such as sequins or very shiny material which will blow whatever you do when shooting with flash. It's annoying but with experience you can tell when it's a problem. The annoying thing is that for optimum and correct exposure the whites will be registering at very close to 255 but once they reach 255 they blow. A fact of life with digital I'm afraid.

William Rubin , Oct 05, 2005; 11:07 p.m.

Thank you for your responses. I practiced what you said and posted a new question with sample pictures. I accidently posted the question in the Digital Camera forum.

Please, if you'e still out there, could you look into my post? I appreciate your help greatly!

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