Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Photo 2 Lesson 5

Class 5: Histograms

Critique: In the first part of the class we took a look at the prints that the students made from assignments #3 and #4. It was a lot of fun as we were looking at prints in small groups and we saw a lot of good images in both black and white and colour.

Technical: Histogram
We had the students take their cameras out and they shot a couple of frames while ensuring the meter was happy each time (or in AV with exposure compensation at 0).
We had a piece of paper with a white, grey and black area and then shot:
  • Only the white portion of their sheet.
  • Only the grey portion of their sheet.
  • Only the black portion of their sheet.
  • All three areas in one shot.
We discussed:
  • why the meter made incorrect exposures.
  • how the histogram interprets the scene.
  • that every histogram is simply a representation of the scene's tones, it isn't right or wrong, each is unique, like a fingerprint.
  • that the only way to asses a histogram and it's "correctness" is to view the histogram along with the scene that is belongs to.
Here is a link to some examples and further explanation of the the histogram:

We also did some in class shooting to find the highlight or white point in the frame and how to use exposure compensation or manual techniques to place the highlight in the right portion of the histogram for correct exposure.

If you wish to post processing your images there is some further info on exposing your images a little differently and you can read further about that here:

We also discussed:
  • the highlight warning.
  • when it may be okay to have parts of the scene that are overexposed (backlight, light sources, specular highlights)
  • the importance of using the histogram as an exposure tool and not to rely on the preview of the screen. You can change the brightness of the screen to the brightest and the darkest and that the histogram doesn't change.
  • metering modes, what is useful and what is not.
  • using spot/partial metering if you want to get a specific tone or perhaps during a backlit situation (otherwise evaluative/matrix will usually do the trick).
We discussed:
  • the importance of practicing all techniques.
  • we reviewed the 5 steps of creative shooting.
  • the importance of self assigning and sticking to that assignment so that when you get to a once in a lifetime scenario, you have a chance to make the great images because you have past experience (ie. practice at the zoo before you go on your once in a lifetime safari).
We gave the students their next assignment:

Assignment #5

The purpose of this assignment is to force you to see and photograph a subject as many ways as you possible can. We all have preconceptions that we must get past in order to make images that are uniquely our own. Some people are lucky enough to see through preconceptions and get to an original image quickly; however, most often we must take a look at our image and then take another image and another until we get the photo to a place that we are happy with. Your assignment is this:

Pick any subject that you like, transform that subject with 20 frames. Use different lenses, positions and lighting to transform the subject into as many different images as you can. Make sure the images are sharp (if needed) and well exposed.

Print all 20 images as 4x6's and bring them with you to the next class.

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