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Using Exposure Controls with Lighting - Book Excerpt - Creative Lighting Tips And Techniques
The following excerpt is from a wonderful new digital photography book, Creative Lighting: Digital Photography Tips and Techniques by award-winning professional photographer Harold Davis. The book covers both natural light and studio lighting. However, it is not a cookbook covering studio lighting setups; nor is it a book that emphasizes the pixels over the overall visual impact that a photograph can make.
Each of the photos in Creative Lighting can be used to generate ideas for your own work — how you can use existing light, alter light, or create lighting to make spectacular photos of your own. The author includes the story behind each photo in the book, as well as full technical data about the captures.
Using Exposure Controls With Lighting
The rubber meets the road when you combine knowledge of the controls used in your camera to set the exposure with knowledgeable observations about lighting (which is the subject of the first part of this book, pages 10–67). As I explained earlier (pages 70–77), the light meter in your camera will indicate that an exposure is correct when the camera settings balance the light reflected or transmitted by your subject, most often on an average basis.
As I’ve explained, this theoretically correct exposure is only the starting place. Taking advantage of your careful examination of the way your subject is lit, you need to understand the implications of the lighting for the image you have pre-visualized (for more on pre-visualization, see pages 108–111).
What’s important about the lighting? Is it the shadow areas, bright areas—or both? Or, does the contrast between lights and darks make your image interesting? How does the quality of light work for—or against—the kind of image you are trying to create?
Try to pinpoint the interplay between lighting and exposure, so you can use your exposure controls to their best advantage. It’s interesting that fairly minor adjustments in exposure can make a huge difference to your final image—and in many cases are the margin between a banal and uninteresting photo, and one that sings with majesty and clarity.
Also, don’t forget to think about the direction of lighting (see pages 28–33). Front lighting produces the most uniformly well-lit subjects—without, however, as much opportunity for creative exposure effects. Side lighting can create strong shadows with the opportunity for creative underexposure— to emphasize the shadows— or overexposure, to bring out dark areas. Backlighting often tends to call for overexposure, either to create the illusion of transparency or to bring out areas in the front of the subject that are not well lit.
There’s no one-size-fits-all formula that you can use to establish an exposure—or the correction to an exposure based on the specifics of your subject. Armed with understanding about how to observe light, and knowledge of what the exposure controls in your camera do, you can begin to make exposures that utilize your creativity.
Experiment! Often, an exposure that diverges radically from the camera’s idea of the correct exposure produces interesting results. After all, there’s really no cost to trying various ideas: as we like to say, “Film is so expensive!”—an ironical comment, because expense of the capture media is no longer a factor in the digital era.
By trying many different responses to various different kinds of lighting you’ll learn what works—and what doesn’t work— in relationship to your own sense of the kinds of images you’d like to make.
This photo of a rose is seen as a contrast between bright, luminous areas and very dark shadow areas because I lit the rose at a low angle from the sides (to make the strong shadows) and then underexposed the image to create the compelling effect that you see here.
200mm macro, 1 second at f/36 and ISO 100, tripod mounted
In this landscape taken from the edge of the volcanic table lands in Owens Valley, California, the prevailing light direction was from the west, where the late afternoon sun was starting to set—in other words, from the upper right of the image, essentially backlighting my subject.
Long, dark shadows were cast, particularly on the lower right. A single, largely dark image that showed this contrast might have been interesting, but instead I chose to show several versions that I could later combine—because I wanted to make sure that viewers could clearly see the road on the right vanishing into the distance. The idea behind this combination was to use a substantially overexposed version of the image to “paint in” the dark foreground areas—and create an image that essentially has no directionality to the lighting. For information about combining captures to enhance lighting, see pages 210–247.
20mm, six exposures at shutter speeds from 1/13 of a second to 1.6 seconds (exposures combined in Photoshop), each exposure at f/22 and ISO 100, tripod mounted
In a dark alley in central Havana, Cuba, I happened to look up. Lying flat on my back, and composing with a wide-angle lens, I used the pattern of light in the sky against the decaying buildings to create an interesting composition. I had to shift the position of the camera to make sure that the direct sun was not included—the contrast between super bright sun and relatively dark buildings would have been impossible to render effectively in my final image.
12mm, 1/400 of a second at f/10 and ISO 100, hand held
Here are the links to the other free excerpts:
• Understanding Exposure
• Overexposure And Underexposure
• Using A Histogram In Photoshop
• All About Aperture
• Working With Shutter Speeds
• Working With The ISO
• White Balance And Color
• Pre-Visualizing the Impact of Lighting
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Adobe Deals & Special Coupon Offers
Visit the Adobe Coupons & Special Offers Page to see the latest deals from Adobe. Find upgrade options at the Adobe Store. Get up to 80% off at the Adobe Education Store. Find out about monthly or annual subscriptions. You can also download a free 30 day trial of any Adobe CS5 product.
onOne Photoshop Plugins Sale - Plus Exclusive 10% Discount
onOne has launched a big sale that has reduced the prices of every one of their plugins. Visit onOne for full product descriptions. And if you decide to purchase one of their plugins, use our exclusive discount code - PSSPPT06 - for an additional 10% discount. Here's a list of the sale prices (before our 10% discount is applied):
Perfect Photo Suite $299.95 / $149.95 (upgrade)
Perfect Photo Suite 5.5 includes all of the onOne Software products and works with Adobe Photoshop, Lightroom and Aperture. Five of the products in the Suite even work as stand-alone applications now.
Perfect Resize 7 $199.95 / $69.95 (upgrade)
The next generation of Genuine Fractals is still the industry standard for image enlargement. Works with Photoshop CS5, Lightroom, and Aperture or as a stand-alone application.
Perfect Layers $69.95
Perfect Layers is the fast and easy way to bring a layered workflow to Lightroom and Aperture. Perfect Layers works with Lightroom and Aperture or as a standalone application.
FocalPoint $99.95 / $69.95 (upgrade)
Add realistic depth of field to your images. Works with Photoshop CS5, Lightroom, and Aperture or as a stand-alone application.
PhotoTune $99.95 / $69.95 (upgrade)
Getting great color in your images is not as hard as you think. Works with Photoshop CS5, Lightroom, and Aperture or as a stand-alone application.
Mask Pro 4 $99.95 / $69.95 (upgrade)
For removing unwanted backgrounds, Mask Pro is the Photoshop plugin recommended by Advanced Photoshop magazine. Works as a plug-in for Photoshop.
PhotoTools $99.95 / $69.95 (upgrade)
Instantly give your photos the professional look. Works as a Photoshop plug-in.
PhotoFrame $99.95 / $69.95 (upgrade)
Add the perfect finishing touch to your photos or create an album layout design. Works with Photoshop CS5, Lightroom, and Aperture or as a stand-alone application.
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Our friends at Auto FX have given us an exclusive special offer discount coupon code S94525 that will give you an instant 15% discount on any and all of their amazing Photoshop plugins and even their special Photoshop Plugin Bundles.
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The Auto FX Plug-in Suite provides a comprehensive selection of visual effects from the world's premier developer of Adobe Photoshop Plug-ins. This suite of products works with Photoshop CS, CS2, CS3, CS4 and CS5. Auto FX Plug-in Suite includes 165 effect filters and thousands of instant effects to improve your images. Purchased separately, the products in this suite are worth over $1,400. By purchasing the Plug-in Suite for $499 you'll save $900.
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The 4 1/2 out of 5 star review of Fluid Mask at MacWorld begins by saying that this "Photoshop plug-in takes the pain out of extracting backgrounds," and goes on to recommend the latest version, stating that "Fluid Mask is a very effective tool for separating objects from their backgrounds. It offers a variety of useful features for tackling almost any difficult image, from wispy hair to complex foliage. Online video tutorials and live training sessions help ease the learning curve."
Our friends at Vertus, the makers of Fluid Mask Photoshop Plugin, have set up a special exclusive discount for PhotoshopSupport.com. Go to our Fluid Mask page for a special, exclusive discount link.
Fluid Mask is designed for photographers, image editors, graphic designers and all those who take digital image editing seriously. In a streamlined interface and workflow, Fluid Mask instantly shows key edges in the image and provides comprehensive easy to use tools that work with difficult-to-see edges and tricky areas like trees & lattices. Fluid Mask will also preserve all-important edge information for a professional quality cut out. Go to our Fluid Mask page for more info.
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Follow the links below and the 15% discount will be AUTOMATICALLY APPLIED to any purchase you make, or use our exclusive discount coupon code - NIKPSS - during the checkout process at Nik Software for the instant 15% discount. This exclusive discount coupon code can be applied to all the latest Nik Software Photoshop plugins, including Silver Efex Pro, Color Efex Pro, Viveza, HDR Efex Pro, and The Complete Collection (big savings).
Nik Software The Complete Collection (Plugins Bundle)
The Complete Collection includes all of Nik Software's latest award-winning plug-in software titles for Photoshop, Lightroom and Aperture including: Dfine, Viveza, HDR Efex Pro, Color Efex Pro, Silver Efex Pro, and Sharpener Pro.
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Color Efex Pro 3.0
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Site Grinder Web Design Tool
There often seems to be a strict division of labor within the world of web design and development. Creative professionals tend to stick to the Photoshop domain, while those well-versed in scripting are left to the task of implementing their work. Indeed, the two realms are quite different from each other, to which any of us even vaguely familiar with either can easily attest.
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WordPress Photoshop Plug-in Creates Wordpress Blogs & Sites
Designers can now create PSD to WordPress Themes in Photoshop with Media Lab's NEW SG3xpress for Wordpress Photoshop plug-in. In addition, Media Lab has released the SG3xpress Add-on for its SiteGrinder 3 for users who wish to add advanced blog and WordPress Theme-building to the already powerful SiteGrinder 3 website creation software.
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Free Plugins And Extras For Photographers And Designers - onOne Free Products - Fully Functional, No Expiry Date
onOne is offering some nice free products for photographers and designers. This software is not the same as the demo products they also offer. These free downloads are fully functional and do not expire. Customers who download these products will also receive special promotional pricing from onOne. The free products include the following:
PhotoTools 2.5 Free Edition - Add a professional look to your photos with the PhotoTools 2.5 Free Edition plug-in for Photoshop. Includes 26 professional-grade actions and photographic effects to make your images stand out from the crowd.
PhotoFrame 4.5 Free Edition - Add the perfect finishing touch to your photos with the PhotoFrame 4.5 Free plug-in for Photoshop. Includes 30 professional-grade edges, backgrounds, textures, adornments, and even full-page album layouts. Discover a whole new way to get outstanding results inside of Photoshop.
Perfect Presets for LightRoom - Designed to provide a streamlined workflow and make you more creative, these presets for Adobe Photoshop Lightroom were designed to help you get the most out of Lightroom.
Perfect Presets for Aperture - Designed to provide a streamlined workflow and make you more creative, these presets for Aperture 3 were designed to help you get the most out of Aperture.
Perfect Presets for Camera Raw - Designed to provide a streamlined workflow and make you more creative, these presets for Adobe Camera Raw (ACR) were designed to help you get the most out of your Raw images in Adobe Photoshop.
Free Photoshop Templates - Album templates, layouts, backgrounds and edges to save you time in Photoshop.
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