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Archive 2012 · portraits- 5D+50 1.8 vs. 7D+17-55
  
 
BrianO
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p.2 #1 · p.2 #1 · portraits- 5D+50 1.8 vs. 7D+17-55


akin_t wrote:
So let's walk through this ...You put your camera in an automatic metering mode (obviously)


Not so "obvious" -- I don't, usually. I usually shoot in full Manual exposure mode.

...and automatic White Balance.

Not needed. For the first shot the WB setting doesn't matter.

...You then expose for the gray card (this should yield a 'correct' (0 EV) exposure and White Balance)

Correct.

...Now you dial in the Exif of the gray card shot while your camera is in M

No idea what "dial in the EXIF" means.

...And when you get home, you sync White Balance with your gray card shot.

No, I use that gray card shot to set a Custom White Balance for all the subsequent shots under the same lighting.

...[When not using a gray card] you go home, [and] you sync White Balance with any neutral color in the frame.

How do you know what's neutral if you don't have a neutral reference?

...I am not seeing what magic the gray card is performing. Built in light meters solve the 'correct' exposure problem and even with the gray card, you still have to sync White Balance anyway.

You only have to set WB once. Even when shooting raw captures, setting a CWB at the beginning of the shoot saves you from having to do 90+ adjustments in post, because the CWB info is attached to the raw files and can be applied to all the shots automatically during conversion.

As far as built-in light meters solving the correct exposure problem, the light meter doesn't know if you're pointing it at a black man in a navy blue suit or a white man in a light gray suit; it will tell you to adjust your exposure to make both of them look the same. A gray reference works with the light meter to make the exposure not just fit within the DR of sensor, but to be the right exposure for that subject and all other subjects shot under the same light.

Far from being obsolete, neutral references are more useful now than ever before; when shooting slide film there really wasn't much we could do to adjust color. We could choose a daylight balanced or tungsten balanced emulsion, and we could put a CC filter on the lens and/or gel our lights, but it was often just a rough approximation. Now, with digital photography, we can use a color managed workflow from capture to print and every point in between.

When shooting 90+ shots of 90 different people, as the OP is doing, starting with an accurate exposure and color balance saves a lot of time.



Jan 12, 2012 at 08:17 PM
akin_t
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p.2 #2 · p.2 #2 · portraits- 5D+50 1.8 vs. 7D+17-55


BrianO wrote:
Not so "obvious" -- I don't, usually. I usually shoot in full Manual exposure mode.


If you're shooting manual then what is the point of the gray card? Why not use your light meter to achieve a 0 EV exposure.

BrianO wrote:
No idea what "dial in the EXIF" means.


I mean dial in the parameters (ISO, aperture, shutter speed) that yielded you your 0 EV exposure, so that your exposure parameters do not change from shot to shot.

(I made the prior statement under the impression that you were shooting in an automatic exposure mode, as using a gray card to set exposure while you're in M mode seems redundant and unnecessary to me)

BrianO wrote:
No, I use that gray card shot to set a Custom White Balance for all the subsequent shots under the same lighting.


Well I guess that's another way to do it, although setting a WB in post and syncing it with all shots taken that day takes like 5 seconds.

(I'm under the assumption that most photographers doing this sort of gig shoot in RAW)

BrianO wrote:
How do you know what's neutral if you don't have a neutral reference?


Well you have me here, truth be told, I don't care much for textbook or 'correct' White Balance ... I adjust my White Balance in post until I deem it aesthetically pleasing (even when I do have the option of using a neutral tone as reference). Sometimes the textbook or conventional definition of exposure and White Balance make for terrible pictures in my opinion. It is for this reason that I don't limit my creativity by these arbitrary constraints. I aim for a good picture, and that's it.

BrianO wrote:
You only have to set WB once. Even when shooting raw captures, setting a CWB at the beginning of the shoot saves you from having to do 90+ adjustments in post, because the CWB info is attached to the raw files and can be applied to all the shots automatically during conversion.


Do you use either Adobe Lightroom or Canon DPP?

If you're shooting under the same lighting conditions, you can easily sync the White Balance between all those shots in under 5 seconds.

BrianO wrote:
As far as built-in light meters solving the correct exposure problem, the light meter doesn't know if you're pointing it at a black man in a navy blue suit or a white man in a light gray suit; it will tell you to adjust your exposure to make both of them look the same. A gray reference works with the light meter to make the exposure not just fit within the DR of sensor, but to be the right exposure for that subject and all other subjects shot under the same light.


I understand what you're saying, but it appears to me you intend to use a gray card to expose for each subject? Lol, that's really unnecessary. While I understand that the camera might underexpose for Whites and overexpose for Blacks, changes in skin tones are not that drastic to warrant such a tedious workflow.

Furthermore, it just seems easier for me, to adjust my exposure manually until I am satisfied with what I see. (Yeah, yeah, I know I'm seeing just a JPEG preview but it is accurate enough).

BrianO wrote:
Far from being obsolete, neutral references are more useful now than ever before; when shooting slide film there really wasn't much we could do to adjust color. We could choose a daylight balanced or tungsten balanced emulsion, and we could put a CC filter on the lens and/or gel our lights, but it was often just a rough approximation. Now, with digital photography, we can use a color managed workflow from capture to print and every point in between.


That's why I said photography has changed, with the advent of digital, all those tedious practices are not necessary unless you really feel like doing it.

BrianO wrote:
When shooting 90+ shots of 90 different people, as the OP is doing, starting with an accurate exposure and color balance saves a lot of time.


In Lightroom 3 (and most programs today)
CMD+A - Selects all my pictures from any given shoot.
Hitting the Sync button - Allows me to sync anything I want between all selected images.

It's not really saving a lot of time.



Jan 12, 2012 at 09:01 PM
BrianO
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p.2 #3 · p.2 #3 · portraits- 5D+50 1.8 vs. 7D+17-55


akin_t wrote:
...If you're shooting manual then what is the point of the gray card? Why not use your light meter to achieve a 0 EV exposure.


You do use the light meter. You read the gray card, and set your aperture and shutter speed to get a 0 reading. It's the same way you always use the light meter, except you are getting a true 0 value instead of one that may be wrong due to subject variance.

...I mean dial in the parameters (ISO, aperture, shutter speed) that yielded you your 0 EV exposure, so that your exposure parameters do not change from shot to shot.

Yep; that's exactly what I do.

...using a gray card to set exposure while you're in M mode seems redundant and unnecessary to me.

Why?

...I'm under the assumption that most photographers doing this sort of gig shoot in RAW.

I certainly would.

...I don't care much for textbook or 'correct' White Balance ... I adjust my White Balance in post until I deem it aesthetically pleasing (even when I do have the option of using a neutral tone as reference). Sometimes the textbook or conventional definition of exposure and White Balance make for terrible pictures in my opinion. It is for this reason that I don't limit my creativity by these arbitrary constraints. I aim for a good picture, and that's it.

Of course, but when you're shooting 90+ shots for a single project, starting from a fixed and accurate rendering that's the same from shot to shot is a real benefit. It in no way limits one's creativity, because one can always change the exposure and color balance in post; use of a standard reference is only a starting point.

...Do you use either Adobe Lightroom or Canon DPP?

Yes.

...I understand what you're saying, but it appears to me you intend to use a gray card to expose for each subject? Lol, that's really unnecessary.

It sure is. Why would you think I'd take a gray card reading for each subject? I would only take one reading for each lighting setup. (You haven't actually read the posts, have you?)

...While I understand that the camera might underexpose for Whites and overexpose for Blacks, changes in skin tones are not that drastic to warrant such a tedious workflow.

Nothing tedious about making one set of flash and exposure settings, and using them for every subsequent shot.

...Furthermore, it just seems easier for me, to adjust my exposure manually until I am satisfied with what I see. (Yeah, yeah, I know I'm seeing just a JPEG preview but it is accurate enough).

That's fine, although a bit too arbitrary for my tastes for the kind of session we're talking about here, where we want the BG of every shot to look the same.

...In Lightroom 3 (and most programs today) CMD+A - Selects all my pictures from any given shoot. Hitting the Sync button - Allows me to sync anything I want between all selected images.

Yep, and by using a color managed workflow you can sync them all accurately.

...It's not really saving a lot of time.

Have you actually ever tried it, or are you just assuming that it wouldn't?

Look, no one's saying that technically accurate capture is warranted for every photographer, nor even for every photograph. I certainly don't do it every time. Sometimes a preceptually correct but not 100% true capture is enough. Sometimes, in fact, I may specifically not want a faithful representation.

Let's say I make a mid-day photograph of ocen waves lapping at the shore along the Washington coast. Do I want a faithful print? Maybe underexposing it and shifting the color far toward blue would be better, giving it the look of a moonlit night. Or I could shift the color toward red to look like sunset. Maybe I'd want to increase the exposure and boost the saturation to give it a tropical beach look. I could even do all three to create a triptych.

These are the kind of artistic manipulations that make photography fun and exciting, and elevate it from craft to art.

There are other times, though, when precision and process control are what the job requires.

The best photographers know when -- and how -- to do either.




Jan 12, 2012 at 09:25 PM
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