How many of you guys have ever taken a picture and the whites or blacks look sort of off? You can tell the picture’s color is off slightly, but you just don’t know why. The answer is that your camera is looking for a balance of light to hopefully get a sweet spot exposure all over the image. When you have your camera set to evaluative metering, which is what most cameras come as on default, it takes a balance of all the light conditions and colors in the picture and looks for a middle ground so that you typically get a “good enough” look. However, if you want your colors to look how they do to your eye, then you can pick yourself up a gray card to help.
Basically, you just need to set your camera to spot metering. Whip out your gray card and have it sitting just in front of the subject. If you are taking portraits, have your subject hold the card in front of their face for just a moment while you meter. Once they are holding the card, just take your camera and zero out your meter while you are focused on the card. The spot meter will only focus on the card and since the card is middle gray, it will make sure that you are metered to shoot it correctly. This means that the rest of your photograph, that is in the same lighting, will come out with more realistic colors!
To zero out a meter means to get the meter range dead in the middle. When you look through your viewfinder you will see an image like this:
You can see the shutter speed on the left, the aperture to the right of that, the exposure range next, and the iso on the right. You want your images to be dead in the middle. To adjust it, if you are set on manual, you can just roll the iso dial with your finger and watch it move left and right. With some practice this will become second nature.
Before and After:
The image on the left is overexposed and the white just doesn’t look right. The picture on the right is shot exactly how it should be. I was in my kitchen with the lights off so that is why it is a bit dark. Please disregard that the images aren’t composed properly and may be slightly out of focus, I ran downstairs and did this quickly. 🙂
If you have any questions or comments just post below!
Hope you all have a wonderful weekend!