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Old May 30, 2006, 9:05 AM   #1
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I took some photos of some friends this past weekend, family shots, at 9am at a local spot here that is the tip if an island with rocks/cliffs all along the shoreline. I knew the sun would be beaming everywhere, but they couldn't do any earlier or later in the day like I suggested since they had little kids.

I tried not to have the sun directly behind them, or directly behind me. But there was so much sun bouncing off everything down there, that I'm sure it'simpossible to get it the way I wanted under those conditions, so I understand that.

But...I have another family that wants me to take photos of their family reunion, again in the middle of the day at a beach home. I have no idea if there will be some shadier spots that I can use, so I'm trying to plan ahead and figure out my best approach as far as settings go with my KM 5D camera.

I did use a circular Polarizing filter on my 5D,to help with some glare off the water, but I still had a lot of the washoutlook happening,

Any suggestions for me?
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Old May 30, 2006, 9:57 AM   #2
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If you can't change the time of day or gaurantee shade the best results will be with CP or neutral density filter to cut down on light AND

Use a flash with camera metering for background, let the flash work to expose your subjects correctly (assuming you have an external flash - the internal flash is probably too weak).
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Old May 30, 2006, 10:00 AM   #3
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Mid day outdoors is a tough situation. The high sun is harsh and unflattering. Shooting with the sun behind helps, but you then need to use fill flash or reflectors to open up the shadows that will be present on the faces. If you can find some shade, that would help alot. Or if you could get hold of large umbrellas, again to provide some shade. Try not to shoot with the water taking up a large portion of the background as it will be tough to get accurate metering and reflections will be hard to deal with. You could also experiment with deliberately underxposing your shots a stop or so with negative exposure compensation. Another option is to get a strong ND filter to reduce the amount of light that enters the camera. Polarizers may help too as they reduce exposure by a stop or 2.

Ask if you can visit the sight a few days ahead and take a friend. Use your friend to check out the lighting conditions and scope out any good shooting locations. If you're prepared and already have an idea of what the lighting will be like, it will at least make the day go a bit smoother and what you may need to bring.

Another suggestion is to shoot in RAW format if you don't already do so. Raw gives you a bit more exposure latitude and the ability to correct exposure in post work.

Finally, this may sound crazy, but take a film SLR if you have one. Film gives more exposure latitude and is less likely to washout and blow highlights. The beach is the one area where I still use film with greater success than digital.

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Old Jun 3, 2006, 9:48 PM   #4
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I agree, shoot raw.

YOu could always apply some exposure compensation to make sure your shots are a little under exposed.

If your shots are taken well overexposed, then you'd have "blown high lights" which are pretty hard to correct with software.

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Old Jun 6, 2006, 9:19 AM   #5
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Dial your contrast back a notch to -1 if shooting jpeg with a KM 5D in harsh lighting. That way the camera won't try to make the bright areas brighter and the dark areas darker as much, helping Dynamic Range a bit.

As others have already mentioned, shooting raw will give you the most latitude for adjusting exposure later and will improve dynamic range (so that the camera can capture a wider range of bright to dark).

Use your histogram to check results and adjust accordingly. When viewing an image, use the up controller arrow and you'll see overexposed areas blinking in white, and underexposed areas blinking in black. Press the down arrow to go back to the regular display.

You'll want to make sure your subjects are not overexposed. If areas of the image you need correctly exposed are blinking white showing overexposure, use Exposure Compensation to change camera settings until you no longer get blinking highlights when viewing an image.

Take a few test shots to get it dialed in as best as possible. With your 5D, just hold down the +- button and turn the command dial and you'll see the needle in the viewfinder move (you want it to move to your left if you're getting overexposure). Turn it a notch at a time, taking photos and rechecking exposure until you get it as good as possible.

With a KM 5D, in harsh lighting around water, it's normal to need to set Exposure Compensation to a -EV value (usually from 1/3 to 2/3 stops down from the center) with a 5D.

Exposure Compensation is how you make an image darker or brighter than the camera's metering thinks it should be (-EV setting to make it darker, +EV setting to make it brighter).

Are you using a lens hood? If not, you may also be seeing some loss of contrast from flare in harsh lighting that can give your photos a washed out look. Try to make sure no harsh lighting is hitting your lens (shade it with something if necessary).

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