Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Setting exposure compensation

I love the sun flares.
Photographers always talk about the magic hour - that time of day when the light is just right.  While some prefer the early morning, I love taking pictures when the sun is about the set and the light is just...magic.  It's summertime so bedtime is a bit later and this way we have all the more time to play, laugh, run and, of course, take photos.

While the light is always beautiful at this time of day, capturing it can be a bit tricky if you don't have the right settings on your camera and this is when you should break out your manual.  For these shots I had to adjust the exposure on my camera.  When I pointed the camera directly at the sky the images looked a bit blown out.  Still, I didn't want to miss the chance to chase her up and down this little ramp in our neighborhood so I set the camera to underexpose (make darker) the shot when I was shooting directly into the light of the sun.  I also bumped up the ISO to 640 to compensate for the low light.  If I had set up the shot to overexpose (make lighter) I wouldn't have gotten all these great contrasts in the silhouettes in the background or the long shadows. And, in those shots where she had more light on her face I adjusted the exposure to make sure she wasn't coming out too dark.

Finally, don't forget to change your exposure setting back after you're done since your camera won't do it for you.  Even if you shoot RAW you might not be able to fix a shot completely if it is over or under exposed.


Copyright Monica L. Shulman
I think that this photo and the one below it really create a narrative of this moment that I was trying to capture.

Copyright Monica L. Shulman
Underexposing here brought out all the great detail and textures of this wood deck.  Not to mention that it makes her little foot stand out even more. This really is a telling portrait of my girl since she's always on the move and being playful and silly.


Copyright Monica L. Shulman
I take so many photos of her from her eye level that sometimes it's fun to photograph her from above.  This is how I always see her and some day she will be as tall as or most likely taller than I am so this is just another way for me to remember her as a baby.  Also, I purposely made the background darker here so that she would be the main focus and also to show all that warm light from the setting sun.

New Jersey never looked so good.

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