why do digital files colours looks so bad without post

Started 4 months ago | Questions thread
57even Forum Pro • Posts: 14,740
Re: why do digital files colours looks so bad without post
1

whosthatwhatsthat wrote:

But its about proportions, not numbers. On a scale of black shadows to almost clipped highlights, where do you want the various elements to end up?

can you explain this a little further? is this where histograms come into play??

Much of the impact in a portrait comes from how the tones and colours in the subject (the person) relate to those in the rest of the scene (the background).

For instance, if the subject doesn't stand out from the background, you can reduce exposure to darken the background slightly and add a subtle kick of angled flash, or a hold a reflector off to one side, to brighten the subject.

You also want to prevent highlights in the subject from clipping. Caucasian skin can get very close to clipping, which is where histograms and blinkies come in.

Sometimes you can let the background blow out (high-key) but you normally have to use a white screen background and flood it with light to make it work.

However, it's always possible to tweak relative contrast in post. When you see the image on a big monitor you may want to change the overall tonality a little - ie move the subject further up or down the scale.

Faces generally look better slightly above midtones for instance, but not too close to the highlights.

Just helps if it's nearly right to start with. Gives you more breathing room in post.

Also note, cinematographers and location photographers love diffuse indirect light. It's kinder to skin and doesn't stress your cameras DR. There's a good reason why studio windows point north, and when I used to do home and business portraits, I worked in a room with a north facing window, if I could find one.

Sure, using white balance calibration helps, but setting up the scene and getting the light on the subject just right is 90% of the job.

Only on a gear forum to people think its the exposure settings. That's the simple bit, just look at the images on the LCD until you like them.

so you are saying its all about light not exposure settings?

Exposure settings just define overall image brightness and DOF. What matters is the DIFFERENCE in tone/colour between different parts of the image, and the camera can't do anything about that. If you can control the light, then do it. If you can't, use a tone curve in post.

also in regards to LCD I noticed a drastic difference in my pictures exposure when I had the brightness on 50% compared to 100% would you say I should keep it on 100% is this more accurate?

Every camera is different. You will have to tune it to match your PC display as best you can, and preferably calibrate your PC display.

Note, how bright your LCD needs to be will depend on ambient brightness. 100% is probably a good idea on a sunny day, but far too bright in an indoor studio.

But histograms and highlight blinkies are your friends.

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