Should I be shooting this @ ISO100 rather than ISO160? Image a bit dark??

Discussion in 'Color: Film, Paper, and Chemistry' started by 10speeduk, Aug 24, 2012.

  1. 10speeduk

    10speeduk Member

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    Hi all, this is Porta 160, backlit with reflector to the front as fill. I metered the dark hair from the front and put is Zone III. Would you say this looks a little dark? I have a shoot on Sunday with the same film and wondered if I set me meter to ISO 100 instead of the 160?
    [​IMG]

    Would like to know what you think.

    Thanks

    Paul
     
  2. BrianShaw

    BrianShaw Member

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    I can't see the pic (box with red-x) but it sounds like you need to change your lighting or metering... one way or another. I don't adjust for ineffective (not intended to be offensive, just descriptive of you not getting results you like) lighting or exposure by changing ASA, personally.
     
  3. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    I question whether placing the hair in Zone III is appropriate here.

    And I wonder whether the entire image is just displayed too dark. Try lightening it a bit, in order to get the face and dress where you want it.

    The highlights should be blown out slightly in a back-lighted image like this.

    And it seems to me that the face and the dress should be your target when you meter.

    You can then decide for yourself what other parts of the scene (with all its inherently large subject brightness range) need to be protected, even if other parts may have to be sacrificed.
     
  4. BrianShaw

    BrianShaw Member

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    You can see it, Matt????
     
  5. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    I'm tempted to say no, to make you really wonder Brian.:whistling:

    But yes, I can see it.

    Sometimes when I have the same problem with attached images (no image visible - just a red "x"), re-booting the computer makes the difference.
     
  6. BrianShaw

    BrianShaw Member

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    Thanks. I've been having lots of slowness and weird stuff on my computer today. I'm rebooting now.
     
  7. nworth

    nworth Subscriber

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    This is a backlighted portrait, which is a difficult exposure situation. Normally, you open up to compensate; placing the skin tones in the face a bit below Zone VI (in this case). Negative film generally handles this pretty well, without blocking up the overexposed background. But in this case you have some rather delicate tonalities in the background. I would probably opt for a diffused fill in flash, but not too much.

    More generally, if your pictures seem to be a bit dark, don't be afraid to rate your film at a lower speed. Cameras and meters have various errors that can cause the exposure to be off, and your technique can also cause a consistent bias one way or another. You fix that by adjusting the film speed you actually use.
     
  8. pentaxuser

    pentaxuser Subscriber

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    Might be just me but the hair is backlit as I'd expect and looks right. The hair in the shade is dark brown as I'd expect from your description of it and the model's ethnic background. Her skin looks right for a contre jour shot. If she looked "brighter" it would look false. She is supposed to look "shady" in the light conditions sense of the word.

    In other words, everything looks right and fits the light conditions. I'd change nothing but as I said that's just me. I may be in a minority of one.

    pentaxuser
     
  9. cramej

    cramej Subscriber

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    Why bother with the Zone system on color neg? Just use an incident meter on the shadow side or spot meter in camera and you're set. I shoot backlit subjects often and neither method has failed me.

    Personally, it is too dark. She is the same tone as the background and she doesn't stand out from it.
     
  10. Ian C

    Ian C Member

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    This would look fine with a small dose of fill flash within the range of, say, -2/3 f to -2 f.
     
  11. BrianShaw

    BrianShaw Member

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    Oh... now I know why everyone can see it but I can"t: Blocked site - Your system policy has denied access to the requested URL.

    I'll have to look from home at a later time. But I think Ian just said what I was thinking (after imagining the picture in my mind's eye)
     
  12. mikendawn

    mikendawn Member

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    I just find her arm (behind) to look rather awkward, almost disjointed. No offense intended, of course...

    And fill, most definitely, would be a benefit here..
     
  13. BrianShaw

    BrianShaw Member

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    Ah, now I see it. Incident light reading, or even better...fill flash!
     
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  15. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

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    There seems to be plenty of detail in the hair, your zone III, so I think your metering is working technically as it should. That suggests to me that the 160 rating is just fine.

    This is a place and fall issue. "Placing" the hair in Zone III is more likely the issue. I think the root problem here is that the hair and the face simply aren't 3 zones apart.

    For any photo where a face is important I peg the face to the proper zone above all else.

    The other possibility is that this has just been printed to dark.
     
  16. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

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    +1 on the incident meter.

    Fill flash would be good too or a larger or second reflector.
     
  17. summicron1

    summicron1 Subscriber

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    I'm with inan c -- the metering is fine, but the subject is just too dark in front and trying to compensate just by exposure is going to make it harder to get the rest correct. Either a teensy fill flash, or just a reflector of some sort, someone next to you holding a big sheet of white cardboard or foil-covered or something, anything to throw a bit of light on that very lovely lady.
     
  18. 10speeduk

    10speeduk Member

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    Thanks all for your info. I guess 160 iso for this film is fine. And yes, she in shade so she should be dark. The main error here is how i composed the shot with not enough difference in tone between my subject and the background. Exposing for longer would not change this relationship. So yet portrait falls down on not having enough light on the subject. I now have two reflectors, which will be an option for next time and i have a leaf shutter lens on the way so maybe a softbox also!

    Thanks again all for the insights. am not sure i would have cracked it on my own.
     
  19. Poisson Du Jour

    Poisson Du Jour Member

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    Aren't you by chance using a Pentax 67?
    Suggest a back-to-basics metering strategy:
    Spot meter face (1: in this image the face is a critical fail as it is improperly illuminated), left arm (illumination side) (2) right arm (3), front of dress (4) forward bottom left grass (5), then average all. No spotting of spectrals in background or bright grass.

    A flash should not be needed but can be usefully employed with spot metering and baseline-averaged fill-in flash with the softbox you spoke of.
     
  20. F/1.4

    F/1.4 Member

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    This just looks like crappy scanning.
     
  21. F/1.4

    F/1.4 Member

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    This just looks like crappy scanning from someone more concerned about histograms than the subject in the photo.

    [​IMG]
     
  22. benjiboy

    benjiboy Subscriber

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    +1, no you don't need to shoot it at I.S.O. 100, you need to get the exposure right, in situations like this I use incidental metering in The Duplex Method, that is take one reading pointing the dome at the Sun and noting the reading , then take a second reading pointing the dome from the subject to the camera in the normal way then average out the two readings, this method works in any light.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 25, 2012
  23. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

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    I do agree that the shot can probably be done nicely with just reflectors providing the fill but that depends on how dark the shooter wants the background to fall.

    In terms of getting back to basics, I think one thing we tend to forget is that cameras can only do one exposure setting at a time. The camera and film don't average anything.

    It seems to me that 10speeduk is doing exactly the right things to control the contrast in the scene, it is just a matter of fine tuning, i.e. adding a bit more more light on the subject and picking the right exposure peg.

    My opinion is that as far as exposure goes for any portrait, the placement of the face trumps everything else when the shutter drops. The only question that matters to me is "where do I want the face to fall on the film?" (in which zone?)

    Because of my opinion/choice, the only value I see in taking various spot readings is to verify that my face reading makes sence, not in finding an average to set the camera to. For reflective readings, sure, verification using other spots is a reasonable practice, but the face reading is all that really matters to me in the end. A single incident meter reading (or gray card reading) accomplishes the same goal and eliminates all the guess work.
     
  24. polyglot

    polyglot Member

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    So I haven't read this thread in detail so apologies if I repeat stuff:
    - we can't tell if it's under-exposed because this seems to be a negative scan and there's endless room for interpretation there*
    - there's detail in the dark shadows, so the exposure seems to be perhaps sufficient
    - this is Portra 160, you can nuke it until it glows (+3 stops) and it will scan or print fine; don't be afraid to use more photons
    - I too question the choice of hair for metering
    - since she's light-skinned, spot-metering to put her face at Zone VI (+1 stop over metered exposure) will look about right**
    - to me, a backlit portrait will deliberately blow the hair highlights and use of fill would reduce the backlight drama IMHO

    * it could be beautifully exposed according to all the guidance in this thread and the scan operator could make it look like you've posted
    ** I think this will result in about 2 stops more exposure than you used according to the hair
     
  25. wogster

    wogster Member

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    The issue isn't whether she is too dark or not, it's that your camera's meter has failed in the most normal way, the subject takes up about 10% of the frame, the background due to the lighting is very bright, so the meter sees that brightness and selects an exposure where the subject is too dark. Changing the ISO to get more exposure would make it overall brighter, but not fix the ratio between subject and background.

    If your camera has spot metering capability, then spot meter on the face, if not, then there are four possible solutions.... Solution one, modified zone system exposure, you want the face in zone V, as the face is the most important part of a portrait, focus on eyes. Second is move the camera in close, so only the face is in the frame, take a meter reading on the face, see what the exposure is, then move back and frame, setting the camera manually. Third is a separate light meter, so you can meter on just the face. Fourth is a reflector or fill flash to get more light on the face. The last one is actually the ideal, it doesn't blow out the background, because it reduces the brightness differential.
     
  26. mikendawn

    mikendawn Member

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    F/1.4 - A little bit of PS work, and it brins it out. I still think her right arm looks awkward in that pose, but just me... She has a very angular body, and having her arms in that position really accentuates that..
    Lovely looking girl, lovely tones, and your post work seems to have brought her out a fair bit more..