Spot Metering and Isolating Brightness


Think Like a Photographer


Lesson Info

Spot Metering and Isolating Brightness

I just want to talk about how do I think about shooting particular subject matter is there anything I do different win a waterfall against in front of me anything different I do what I have to shoot a panorama is there anything different I just think about in general when I change my camera settings how do I think about what aperture settings so I use that kind of stuff and so let's take a look so first off when I'm in the field uh I always try to challenge myself in capture both the horizontal and vertical of whatever it is I'm shooting and sometimes it's not even that I think I'm going to use that vertical or the horizontal whatever the opposite of what I was planning on shooting sometimes is simply a challenge and the more I do that the more the better I get composing thing because when I shoot a vertical and I switched to horizontal I completely recomposed the scene again because not just rotating the camera it's a matter of finding a different angle where it's going to look approp...

riate for that particular orientation so even when I find weird stuff in the desert I shoot a vertical and a horizontal I find this stuff vertical horizontal find a church vertical horizontal and I just try to do that everywhere I go if at all possible it makes it so now I have a much more versatile set of images if anybody ever contacts me and says oh I loved your images from so and so place and I'd like to use them in this article or something else uh I might have a lot more of what they could use compared to if I just shot one particular format um but let's just talk about how doe I think when I'm in the field when it comes to my camera settings in similar stuff so oftentimes I'm tryingto isolate something I'm interested in from the clutter that surrounds it sometimes that's in composition as I showed you earlier where I think about the negative things and try to minimize them get him out of there but other times I can change the settings I use in my camera to isolate something from its background in this particular case I'm in a temple I'm looking out through this interesting shape and in the distance though I can see some detail that I don't think helps the image because I'm just interested in this shape and what's in the distance is more of a distraction so one method for dealing with that is to change your exposure setting because in your camera when you press the shutter button halfway down it doesn't give you the correct exposure it gives you what's known as the metered exposure which is just the exposure of the camera thinks will give you an average brightness to your scene doesn't mean it's anywhere near what it should be so then it's up to me to tell the camera if I wanted to be brighter darker now most the time I'm shooting an aperture priority mode so I'm choosing the aperture setting which ends up determining how much depth of field how much stuff is in his sharp in my eye image and then the cameras figuring out the proper shutter speed that's mainly because in most of my images but not all of them there's not much motion in the scene if there if I was shooting animals I might think a little differently because shutter speed might be more important but if I'm shooting landscapes and buildings and stuff like that there's not that much motion around so the shutter speed isn't very important then I'm changing the exposure compensation setting on my camera and on my canon camera that's the dial on the back of the camera in all it ends up doing is I think I took a screen shot of this taking a moment to okay is on my camera there is one little mark right here that tells me that the center marking on here is the metered exposure that's the default you could say and when I take the exposure compensation wheel in my camera I can spin that over into the negative side to under expose making the image darker or I could swing it over to the posits a positive side too or expose and make the image brighter so I'm going to be moving the wheel in the back of my camera and seeing this little mark move to make these changes and let's take a look at what I might do here to isolate this object if I'm ever out shooting under midday sun a lot of people hate shooting under midday sun there's so much contrast but I actually really like it because there's so much contrast the difference between the bright in the dark parts of the image is so great that I can often isolate things based on brightness in I can make whatever it is I like in the scene look normal and make whatever's behind it either go so bright that it goes white or so dark that it goes black and by doing so I have my object with nothing behind it so in this particular case I took my exposure compensation and I took that little market was on there and put it into the positive side I don't remember how far maybe to stop spider to that means to the number two on that that graph and I took another shot and I ended up with this and you see how now I have the shape that I really liked but what was distracting in the distance is for the most part gone and so often shoot on midday and my eye has no problem seen what's in the bright and dark areas of the image but if I notice that there's a huge difference between the two then in my brain I try to adjust I think about what if I on ly showed you what's in the shadows and I let the bright stuff goto white or what if I only showed you it was in the sun and let the dark areas go to black and so that's how mentally think even though with my eyes I can easily see the detail in both areas it's that my camera can't capture that wide of a brightness range and so I can just kind of tailor my exposure to try to isolate something so in this case I'm probably at plus too although I'm not absolutely certain what the number wass I took another shot I reviewed it and said do I need to go even brighter or not or was that stuff gone yet now oftentimes I also go the opposite direction ah lookit just where is the sun falling and I'll say what if I only show you the area where the sun is falling and if the rest of it is in the shade why not let it go black or close to black or it's really hard to see the contents there so let's look at a few examples there this one I took a few days ago when we have some fall color in the great smoky mountains and what I did as I had this I saw the sun coming over and catching some leaves and backlighting them in what I did is I searched the surroundings behind the leaves because most of the trees and things that were behind the leaves were also being lit by the sun but there was one dark tree trunk back there that the sun was not hitting and so I position myself moving left and right and up and down until I got those leaves that were being lit by the sun from behind and I moved around and tell that dark tree that was behind it was lined up with so the background ended up being this darkness and then I underexposed I moved a little indicator instead of being on its own default I moved it to negative one maybe you negative too I don't remember the stunning I try something like negative two I take a shot and I look at it and say does that look good enough but I need to go farther you can if you want to get into it you could use a spot meter where your cameras meter only meters a very small portion of the frame and you could put that little spot meter area it's usually in the center of your frame right on the leaf to say exposed this area correctly and then you can um you can lock the exposure and then recompose so that you're not just having that center I personally don't do that I just like adjusting it shooting and then reviewing it to see if it looks good anyway that's so how isolated this one otherwise you would have seen all the trees that were behind this and it would have been more distracting here's another instance this is what it looked like when I was looking over there other than I could easily see the detail in those highlight I saw this when I was in glacier national park and just thought well that is interesting that the sun picked out on ly those trees to put light on and so I thought what would it be like if I make it the surroundings turned black we're close to it in just show you the detail where the highlights are wouldn't that kind of be an interesting way to isolate that something people aren't used to scene when they just pull out their iphone and you know snap a picture so I underexposed and I ended up with this after adjusting and photo shop a little bit further darken the uh shadows and so I thought that looked more interesting than otherwise uh here's an instance where I saw these little puppets the sun was catching them the sun is not catching the interior of this shop in southeast asia and so I decided to under expose a little bit and just focus in a little bit closer on those so that just what's being caught in the sun is what's there and then in photo shop I would just paint with black or just darken the image generally to hide this woman's body that's down here in this little object over here and I might darken maybe this little piece over on the lower left but the main thing is I often look at what is just in the sun and can I somehow get the rest to just disappear by making it go so dark you can't see the detail and that has to do with adjusting the exposure compensation so that little mark that's usually centered on zero goes into the positive side if I need to brighten the image to see the shattered detail in the image and have the highlights goto white or it goes into the negative side if I push it far enough the background might go to black and on ly the areas of the sun are catching might really be what's visible so that's one thing I'm searching out in the middle of the day is is there a way I can isolate things based on that so I see this these are flags I'm not used to seeing every day when I walk around here so I was like oh great the sun is just catching them and so I thought well if I under it expose where I might get these to be okay and brightness but the rest of the singles really dark that might make these really jump out the sun is also catching the leaves there there so they're probably be an accessory to it and I can end up with something about like that now this image and photo shop I would retouch the upper left corner just because a diagonal near the corners going to dry your eye up there and there's no payoff when you get there so I would change that not for me I'm making more fine art kind of images I'm not doing news stories if I was shooting news I would never be touch out that corner because that's changing the content and that's a no no for news and things you have to think about the use for your picture so for me personally I have no problem doing that kind of thing but just consider the situation but in that case I can end up just catching the sunlit areas and I find a nice way to isolate here again with fall color I looked at where was the sun grabbing things under suppose a little bit because usually this would be quite a bit brighter if you use the default exposure of your camera default exposure and your camera just tries to give you kind of an average brightness to the scene and with this much dark material it would end up lightening up this scene quite a bit with a default exposure so end up under exposing just enough where this is getting nice detail in it and I don't care if this even goes black because I like that separation and then a little fine tuning and photoshopped teo you know polish it and I really like that look I don't know about you but I like it but I got a quick question um you're using exposure compensation so you're not really here are you shooting in manual as well or no it's when you're an aperture priority mode which is what I'm great you choose the aperture setting which determines the depth of field you get how much stuff is sharp and the camera chooses your shutter speed for you to try to get the exposure right and then you can modify that to say I don't want an average exposure I would rather have the speed darker than normal or brighter than normal and that's what the exposure compensation does when I do that the camera's changing the shutter speed it's saying lou a longer exposure because you asked for it to be brighter or to a shorter exposure because you asked for it to be darker but the cameras doing that calculation for us so you're choosing the aperture setting which is home much stuff is in focus and then you're choosing how much brighter or darker than normal you want those are the two settings I'm using great manual mode is great and some people their head gets in that if you have more the the scientists engineer kind of mind set some people much prefer that but what I like about aperture priority mode is if I pick up my camera and pointed at anything and hit the button it will usually take a properly exposed picture whereas of him in manual mode it's going to take whatever settings I used last then it will have nothing to do with what I just pointed my camera so a car accident happens right in front of me anapa propriety mode I can pick up my camera pointed out and hit the button and I got a picture of it in manual mode I have to pick up my camera think about what it might be set to on and then take the picture and it just makes it for me were it's it slows down my thought process too much I'm not saying it's a bad thing to be in manual mode that's in many ways the ultimate mode to be in mentally but it's if you have a lot of time to be shooting and you really got your brain into that great and then kind of a little bit of a follow up for ninja and see sloan can you just give us a rudimentary difference between exposure compensation and s o ah yeah eso is how sensitive is the camera toe light s o that if I take an exposure of just let's say one second how bright side going to be meaning if it is it's really sensitive to light it's going to be ableto pull in a lot of detail from that one second exposure if it's not very ex sensitive to light it's still going to be a relatively dark images how sensitive it is too light when you up your s o setting uh your image becomes noisier so I only up my eyes so study would have a good reason to shooting sports or something else I need to freeze the action and it would be okay to have slightly noisy looking image otherwise I usually leave my camera on the lowest I s o setting it goes to if I haven't turned on what's called a iso extension meaning a special feature that lets you go lower than normal whatever the lowest that it could normally go to because that's usually where you get the least noise cleanest looking image and on lee up the iso setting if I have a really good reason to mainly what I need to freeze action or if I have an extremely dark scene I'm shooting inside at night time and no barely any lights are on or something I might consider it

Class Description

So you just bought your first DSLR, now what? In this two-day workshop, professional photographer and Photoshop Hall of Famer Ben Willmore will take you inside his award-winning mind. From composition techniques to post-production Photoshop magic, Ben will unpack everything the pros know about taking and editing amazing photos. Ben will reveal his entire thought process when shooting — showing you how simple choices like lens selection can dramatically alter your results. You will also learn what settings you need to capture the right light, how to modify your gear to make it more useful, Photoshop techniques to polish your photos, and how to use apps and software to streamline your workflow. Whether you’re a beginning photographer, or a working photographer interested in a refresher course, this workshop will teach you how to make the most out of your DSLR.


Ashleigh L

AMAZING CLASS! I caught bits and pieces of the live stream, but even in those bits and pieces of it, I learned so much! He's a great teacher, easy to understand and great visuals. He "walks around" the subject to give us different POV, tells us the negative/positive/neutral of the photo, and tips. Thank you, Ben!