Friday, May 6, 2022

Using a Grey Card to Nail Exposure and White Balance

In this issue:

  • Grey card techniques
  • Computational Photography Talk for the Royal Photographic Society
  • Real Letters from Real Readers - Back Button Focusing (BBF)
  • In the Pipeline
  • Next time in Cameracraft Magazine
  • Parting Shots

Using a Grey Card to Nail Exposure and White Balance

A long time ago, photographers used film and were literally “shooting blind” – they weren’t sure if their built-in reflective light meters were metering for non-average subjects properly (like brides with white dresses, or grooms with black tuxes).  Nor were they ever sure if the color balance was “correct” when it came time to make prints from negatives in the darkroom.  In both of these cases, serious photographers would use a grey card to nail the exposure and the white balance – and it would be perfect every time.

Meter off the grey card to nail the exposure in photos that have non-average subjects.  You can also use the grey card as a neutral surface from which to set your white balance accurately.

Today we have digital cameras with Live View, which makes things easier but in extreme circumstances (like really bad or non-white light, or really non-average subjects like brides in white dresses or grooms in black tuxes) the grey card will still nail it.  Here’s how to use this ancient technique:

Wednesday, February 16, 2022

Remembrance Photography

Also in this issue:

  • Remembrance Photography
  • Sony A7 IV book is out!
  • Lecture for the Royal Photographic Society
  • Geeking with Gary: Google Bricks their own Product


Remembrance Photography

If you've been following my blog in the past year, you'll know I've been searching for more meaning in photography beyond mere pretty pictures.  What's worth doing?  Why take pictures?  In the upcoming issue of Cameracraft magazine, I profile organizations that offer bereavement portraits at no cost to families who have lost or are losing a baby.  Losing a child at any stage, whether this be through miscarriage, stillbirth, neonatal or infant death or of any age is one of the most traumatic experiences any one can go through.  And they have a large network of volunteers in both the U.S. and U.K.  It’s rare that a portrait photographer has an opportunity to make such a lasting and profound impact in a family’s life.  And I can tell you that these portraits become the families' most treasured asset.

In the article I interview program participants, and what the training is like, and what it's like to do this kind of work.  But even if you don't subscribe, I encourage you to email me a for a copy of the article, and also check out the two organizations mentioned in the article:

Sunday, January 9, 2022

The New Studio

Probably the most important thing you need in a studio is not lights nor equipment - it's empty space.  With empty space, the most dramatic images can be had with only one light.  (As always, click on each image to view larger and much sharper.)

One light - overhead
One light in my hand.

One light.

One light.

Surely you get the point by now.

And I never really had a lot of empty space in the old studio.  (An informal tour appeared here.)  My old studio in California was a tiny room and I often felt a little cramped.  And every time I wanted to switch from shooting videos (with continuous lights) to shooting stills (with powerful flashes and a completely incompatible set of light modifiers), it took a day to put the old equipment away and reconfigure everything.