How To Fix Overexposure As A Creative Tool, The Complete Guide

As an creative tool, overexposure is sort of underrated. What I’m close to propose could be a deliberate and well thought out technique for manufacturing pictures that area unit extraordinarily compelling however impossible by different ways. It’s associate amalgam of pre-visualization and Photoshop, and also the results area unit fantastic.

One problem you’ll see with dramatic lighting and proper exposure control is that shadows and tonal merger can be issues. Many dramatic beauty and glamour images are made against dark backgrounds, and for good reason: the drama of the scene demands it. By itself, image 12.1 is a nice photo. The image was made using only two lights with beauty bowls, one as the main light and the other as a hair light (powered 1/3 stop below the main light, to keep its effect minimal). See diagram 12A.

dramatic lighting and proper exposure control

What if we could deliberately move beyond that constraint to create images that transcend the boundary? Well, it is possible to create a great image that has white values of more than 245 (as seen in a histogram), even though conventional wisdom tells us that we will not have detail in the highlights beyond this point. Let me show you how.

We can seriously animate the result of the image by ramping up the sunshine, primarily overexposing elements of it. Now, this is often not a trick you would like to leap into. you actually ought to pay your time wiggling with it and bending it to your own can. solely then can you perceive however you would possibly add this trick to your repertoire.

ISO numbers work the same as shutter speed and aperture numbers. Doubling the speed from 100 to 200 doubles the sensitivity of the sensor, and halving the speed from 100 to 50 cuts the sensitivity of the sensor by half. Similarly, opening the aperture from f/8 to f/5.6 doubles the amount of light striking the sensor while stopping down from f/8 to f/11 will cut the amount of light reaching the sensor in half. The same principle holds true for shutter speeds. The three functions, working together, create an effect called “reciprocity,” which can be used to your advantage.

Rather than re-powering the two strobes for image 12.2, I simply upped the ISO of the camera from 200 (the ISO used in the first shot) to 400—a 1-stop increase in the strength of the light as the sensor would see it. When you look at this image, you’ll see immediately that some of the highlights are blown out to pure white. This is just fine. As it is, it’s a visually interesting and provocative image, simply done. Of course, your client won’t know how easy it was to create it, and you can charge more for the “special” image.

the ISO used in the first shot

Increasing the working ISO

Increasing the working ISO another half stop, to ISO 640, presents images that are unusable, at least as they were shot. It’s not so much that the highlights are too bright but rather that the midtones are so bright as to be objectionable if printed as they are. See image 12.3.

Here’s where Photoshop comes into play. Simply open the image, duplicate the layer, and selectMultiply from the blending modes. Multiply will approximately double the density of any pixel it can wrap itself around. With images that contain blown-out highlights (areas of no detail) Photoshop is unable to add density because there’s nothing there at all. The result is a darker image (where it counts) containing areas with zero detail. It’s a stunning effect that may be regulated by moving the Opacity slider until you get an effect you like (I set the opacity to 25%, reducing the Multiply layer to 75% of its original density). See image 12.4.

Let’s kick the ISO up another half stop, to ISO 800. In my opinion, 2 stops is about as far as most images can be pushed with this technique. (I’d encourage you to try this yourself, of course. You may find a trick I’ve not even thought of to get something even better than what I’m writing about.) I think this is about the limit because too many details, the important details such as the slight shadows that define contour, become so bright that they begin to disappear. Without contouring, the overall image is visually flattened. Also, as you can see, some color gets washed out to the point where it changes its own appearance. See image 12.5.

ISO up another half stop, to ISO 800

For this image, I used the technique just described, this time setting the opacity at 100% to add as much density as possible. You may wish to duplicate the multiply layer yet again for your images, as the extra density of a third layer may help. It’s your call. See image 12.6.

These “adjusted” images make great black & white or toned images, even at +2 stops. In fact, the heightened effect of the conversion only adds to the built-in surrealism of a toned monochrome print.

After conversion to monochrome in Photoshop’s ChannelMixer (Red 40, Blue 30, Green 20) I used one hit each (at the default strength) of red and yellow in Image>Adjusments>Variations to get this beautiful sepia tone. I added an additional multiply layer, setting its opacity to 30%, for a little more contrast. See image 12.7.

In Christopher Grey’s Advanced Lighting Techniques I wrote about using pieces of thin cloth as soft focus filters. This is a beautiful technique that can add intrigue to an ordinary image but can work magic on an image that’s deliberately overexposed.

My demo shot was lit with only one beauty bowl and grid. I’d placed a piece of peach glitter organza, cut to size and placed between a clear UV filter and a retaining ring, and attached it to the lens. I knew that using only one light would allow some of the dark tones and shadows to merge into the black background, but I felt the effect of the fabric would make the image interesting enough that the detail wouldn’t be missed but would actually add to the mystery. This image (image 12.8) was made at 1 stop over the meter reading.

The weave of the fabric acts a bit like a fiber optic in that a thread will reflect and carry light from the thread next to it, with the light diminishing in intensity the farther the thread is from the reflected light. Because the threads are woven at right angles, it can also create a star effect out of specular highlights (the effect is similar to, but not as sharp as that produced by diffraction grating filters). The angle of the star can be varied by rotating the filter, as the effect will follow the weave. I chose the peach fabric because it warmed the image slightly, changing a little of the color. See image 12.9.

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Overexpose your camera exposure settings?

Despite all the sage recommendation to bracket, meter and permit for a few latitude in your camera exposure settings. you’ll be able to and may contemplate deliberate over-exposure of your digital photos underneath sure shooting conditions. Certainly, you have got over a passing familiarity with ways in which to confirm correct camera exposure settings once shooting digital pictures commonly. thus what conditions may precipitate deliberate over-exposure? We’ll contemplate that terribly side here during this article thus you’ll be able to undertake the techniques for yourself.

How to Get Correct Camera Exposure Settings on Digital Cameras

To get correct exposure settings on your digital camera, you can opt to use several accurate methods including the use of the auto exposure mode  Correct camera exposure settings then, are not necessarily a problem for most digital photographers. Over-exposure, however, can be either accidental or deliberate. Either way, results can be distinctively different from those produced via correct camera exposure settings.

  • Using an in camera exposure meter
  • Using typical exposures for certain commonly-encountered conditions
  • Setting your camera manually based on personal knowledge and experience
  • Use of a hand-held light meter or exposure meter
  • Camera settings based on your digital camera operating manual
  • Bracketing of exposure settings

Reducing a Cluttered Background Using Over-Exposure

There area unit things during which deliberate over-exposure camera exposure settings may be helpful in reducing AN overly-distracting or littered background in your digital pictures. the utilization of photograph writing code to extend color saturation, improve distinction or differentiate areas of interest among the digital image photographic composition ought to allay fears of laundry out everything once deliberately over-exposing digital pictures. If your subject is in shade or shadow with sturdy lighting behind. Metering on or deliberately over-exposing the darker subject can throw the background into a white-out or over-exposed state. gap up the camera aperture any|an extra} stop or 2 can intensify this impact even further. There area unit some straightforward ways in which to deliberately over-expose camera exposure settings.

The simplest and most direct of these are:

  • Opening up the camera lens aperture by one, two or more stops
  • Metering or exposing for the darkest area of your subject
  • Using flash or flood lighting in a bright light digital photography scenario
  • Use a slow shutter speed in combination with a wide lens aperture
  • Metering off of your hand, the inside of your coat or off of a nearby dark object

Creating Special Effects Using Over-Exposure Camera Exposure Settings

Have you ever been to Antarctica throughout an important snowstorm? however regarding for an informal stroll on the sun? ME neither. except for making tricks like double or multiple exposures, fog-like eventualities, blizzard, snow, white-out backgrounds or alternative digital image tricks, are often simply accomplished mistreatment over-exposure manufacturing camera exposure settings. Exposing for the darker foreground subject mechanically throws a lighter toned background into associate over-exposed state. Very light, washed-out or deliberately over-exposed backgrounds build adding additional pictures or tricks a snap to make and complete.

Creating Photographic Wallpapers exploitation Over-exposure Camera Exposure Settings

When it’s time to make a number of your tailor-made backgrounds, scenes or wallpapers for an internet site or screensaver, exploitation deliberate over-exposure camera exposure settings as an explicit tool for reducing or eliminating extraneous parts in your digital pictures which may be done whereas doing the first shooting sequences. this could create overlays or further super-imposed graphics or pictures so much easier to provide. exploitation over-exposure as a photography inventive tool, you’ll simply turn out high-impact multi-dimensional digital pictures associate degreed backgrounds as simple as falloff a bibulous moose’s butter-slick backside throughout an earthquake. And you can’t get a lot of easier than that, currently will you?

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Nikon D7000, Macro Photography

Put simply, macro photography is close-up photography. Depending on the lens or lenses that you got with your camera, you may have the perfect tool for macro work. Some lenses are designed to shoot in a macro mode, but you don’t have to feel left out if you don’t have one of those. Check the spec sheet that came with your lens to see what its minimum focusing distance is.

If you have a zoom, you should work with the lens at its longest focal length. Also, work with a tripod because handholding will make focusing difficult. The easiest way to make sure that your focus is precisely where you want it to be is to use manual focus mode.

Since I am recommending a tripod for your macro work, I will also recommend using A (Aperture Priority) mode so that you can achieve differing levels of depth of field. Long lenses at close range can make for very shallow depth of field, so you will need to work with apertures that are probably much smaller than you would normally use. If you are shooting outside, try shading the subject from direct sunlight by using some sort of diffusion material, such as a white sheet or a diffusion panel. By diffusing the light, you will see much greater detail because you will have a lower contrast ratio (softer shadows), and detail is often what macro photography is all about (Figure 11.11).

good macro shot is all about details
Figure 11.11 A good macro shot is all about details. I want you to meet my very own lady slipper orchid, which I’ve been nursing along for more than two years since her last bloom. Using a low ISO and high f-stop allowed me to capture the great details of the bloom.

Canon EOS 60D, Let’s Get Creative


It’s no secret that I don’t like to use the built-in flash. The light is harsh and flat, and when you photograph people in a dark setting, such as indoors or at night, it’s too easy to get a background that is dark and underexposed.

So when I’m in a situation in which I have no choice but to use the flash on my camera, I like to change some of the settings to give my snapshots a different look. I drag the shutter, setting it much slower than normal, usually between 1/15 and 1/4 of a second, and spin the camera on axis with the subject while the shutter is open. This keeps the person mostly frozen and well lit while creating an interesting blur of lights in the background (Figure 10.6).

By using a slow shutter speed with the built-in flash, you can create fun and unique photos of your friends.
FIGURE 10.6 By using a slow shutter speed with the built-in flash, you can create fun and unique photos of your friends.

I like to call this technique my “party trick” because when I’m in a room full of people, I’ll use this method to take a quick portrait, and often it’s something that they haven’t seen done before. This technique is not limited to DSLR cameras, and I frequently show people how to set up their point-and-shoot cameras to do it. I find that it adds a unique look to an otherwise boring snapshot. One quick tip: This type of image usually works best when there are a lot of lights behind your subject, such as the lights from a Christmas tree.


  1. Set your camera to Tv mode and start with a shutter speed somewhere between 1/15 and 1/4 of a second.
  2. Press the built-in flash button on the front of your camera.
  3. Point the camera and center your subject in the frame. Start with the camera slightly tilted, and then press the Shutter button to take a photo and spin the camera so that the subject stays centered in the image.
  4. If your flash is too bright, press the Flash Exposure Compensation button on the top of the camera and use the Quick Control dial to move the exposure value (EV) to the left. Take another photo and preview your results.
  5. If the background is too dark or too bright, you’ll want to adjust your ISO setting. The higher the ISO number is, the more ambient light you’ll bring into the background.
  6. If you have too much or too little blur in the background, adjust the shutter speed (a slower shutter speed for more blur, and a faster shutter speed for less blur).
  7. Keep adjusting the settings until you find that “sweet spot.” It will be different for each environment, and there’s no single right way to do it. Just have fun with it!



Another fun technique that’s worth trying is light painting (Figure 10.7). For this, you’ll need a dark environment (nighttime is best), your camera on a tripod, and some semi-powerful flashlights or another light source. Shine your flashlight on your subject to light it, and in effect you’ll “paint” the light that will show up on your image. But you don’t have to paint the light on something for it to show up—if it’s dark enough you can stand in front of the camera and move the light source to make shapes or spell something out. A fun item to use for this effect is a sparkler (a type of handheld firework that emits sparkles). Just set your camera up on a tripod outdoors at night and have someone run around the frame holding a sparkler, and you’ll create shapes and streaks that can look really cool. You could also use small flashlights or LED lights. In Figure 10.8, I used a small LED flashlight with a green gel over it to add a different color to the writing.

For this photograph, I used a long exposure while my friend scribbled the haystacks with a laser pointer and I “painted” the ground with a powerful LED flashlight. I added small blue and green gels on the flashlight to add color to the image.
FIGURE 10.7 For this photograph, I used a long exposure while my friend scribbled the haystacks with a laser pointer and I “painted” the ground with a powerful LED flashlight. I added small blue and green gels on the flashlight to add color to the image.
I photographed this image with the help of my friend dav.d. That’s me writing with a small LED flashlight. The original photo was backward, so I flipped the image horizontally using editing software.
FIGURE 10.8 I photographed this image with the help of my friend dav.d. That’s me writing with a small LED flashlight. The original photo was backward, so I flipped the image horizontally using editing software.


  1. Place your camera on a tripod in a dark environment, preferably nighttime or a darkened room.
  2. If your environment is extremely dark, set your camera to the Bulb shooting mode with a large aperture. If you have some ambient light in your scene, set your camera to Av mode and use an aperture that is large enough to capture the light from your light painting but small enough to give you a fairly slow shutter speed—several seconds is usually a good place to start.
  3. Using a cable release or one of the self-timer drive modes, press the Shutter button. If you are using Bulb mode, you’ll need a cable release in order to hold the shutter open for the duration of your light painting.
  4. With the shutter open, use a flashlight, a sparkler, or any other type of powerful light source to create your image. The creative possibilities are endless!


Nikon D7000, Using the Built-In Flash

There are going to be times when you have to turn to your camera’s built-in flash to get the shot. The pop-up flash on the D7000 is not extremely powerful, but with the camera’s advanced metering system it does a pretty good job of lighting up the night…or just filling in the shadows.

If you are working with one of the automatic scene modes, the flash should automatically activate when needed. If, however, you are working in one of the professional modes you will have to turn the flash on for yourself. To do this, just press the pop-up flash button located on the front of the camera (Figure 8.8). Once the flash is up, it is ready to go. It’s that simple.

A quick press of the pop-up flash button will release the built-in flash to its ready position.
Figure 8.8 A quick press of the pop-up flash button will release the built-in flash to its ready position.

Shutter speeds

The standard flash synchronization speed for your camera is between 1/60 and 1/250 of a second. When you are working with the built-in flash in the automatic and scene modes, the camera will typically use a shutter speed of 1/60 of a second. The exception to this is when you use Night Portrait mode, which will fire the flash with a slower shutter speed so that some of the ambient light in the scene has time to record in the image.

The real key to using the flash to get great pictures is to control the shutter speed. The goal is to balance the light from the flash with the existing light so that everything in the picture has an even illumination. Let’s take a look at the shutter speeds in the professional modes.

  • Program (P): The shutter speed stays at 1/60 of a second. The only adjustment you can make in this mode is overexposure or underexposure using the Exposure Compensation setting or Flash Compensation settings.
  • Shutter Priority (S): You can adjust the shutter speed to as fast as 1/200 of a second all the way down to 30 seconds. The lens aperture will adjust accordingly, but typically at long exposures the lens will be set to its smallest aperture.
  • Aperture Priority (A): This mode will allow you to adjust the aperture but will adjust the shutter speed between 1/200 and 1/60 of a second in the standard flash mode.

Flash range

Because the pop-up flash is fairly small, it does not have enough power to illuminate a large space (Figure 8.9). The effective distance varies depending on the ISO setting and aperture. At ISO 200, f/4, the range is about 14 feet. This range can be extended to as far as 20 feet when the camera is set to an ISO of 1600, f/8. For the best image quality, your ISO setting should not go above 1600. Anything higher will begin to introduce excessive noise into your photos. Check out page 147 of your manual for a chart that shows the effective flash range for differing ISO and aperture settings.

The pop-up flash was used to fill in shadows. The longer exposure time allowed the ambient light to illuminate the rest of the scene.
Figure 8.9 The pop-up flash was used to fill in shadows. The longer exposure time allowed the ambient light to illuminate the rest of the scene.

Metering modes

The built-in flash uses a technology called TTL (Through The Lens) metering to determine the appropriate amount of flash power to output for a good exposure. When you depress the shutter button, the camera quickly adjusts focus while gathering information from the entire scene to measure the amount of ambient light. As you press the shutter button down completely, the flash uses that exposure information and fires a predetermined amount of light at your subject during the exposure.

The default setting for the flash meter mode is TTL. The meter can be set to Manual mode. In Manual flash mode, you can determine how much power you want coming out of the flash ranging from full power all the way down to 1/128 power. Each setting from full power on down will cut the power by half. This is the equivalent of reducing flash exposure by one stop with each power reduction.

Setting the flash to the Manual power setting

Setting the flash to the Manual power setting

  1. Press the Menu button and then navigate to the Custom Setting menu.
  2. Using the Multi-selector, highlight the item labeled E Bracketing/Flash and press the OK button (A).
  3. Highlight item E3 Flash Cntrl for Built-in Flash and press OK (B).
  4. Change the setting to Manual (C) and then press the OK button to adjust the desired power—Full, ½, ¼, and so on—and press the OK button (D).

Don’t forget to set it back to TTL when you are done because the camera will hold this setting until you change it.


Canon EOS 60D, Audio

The Canon 60D records audio by utilizing the microphone located on the front of the camera (FIGURE 9.9). It records monaural sound, meaning the sound is recorded on a single channel. This audio basically gets the job done. It’s not top-notch, but if you are making quick, simple movies and don’t need high-quality sound, then this microphone will work quite well for you.

The built-in microphone is located on the front of your camera.
FIGURE 9.9 The built-in microphone is located on the front of your camera.

One huge drawback to using the built-in microphone is that it will pick up operational noises made by your camera. Changing the ISO or manually refocusing your lens during the recording process might not sound loud to your ears, but when you play back the video you’ll hear every click, bump, and swish your camera made during those changes.

If you’re serious about shooting videos and want to ensure that you have the best audio possible to go along with your movies, your best option is to invest in additional audio gear instead of using the built-in microphone (FIGURE 9.10). You can plug in this equipment by using the external microphone IN terminal located on the side of your camera, beneath the Terminal cover. The advantages to using an external microphone and other equipment are that you can record your sound in stereo and you can regain control over the sound recording level. When you have a microphone plugged in, your camera sound will automatically be recorded through that microphone.

The 60D can easily be equipped with external audio gear; here is a simple setup with a BeachTek DXA-SLR active DSLR adapter and Audio-Technica AT875 shotgun microphone.
FIGURE 9.10 The 60D can easily be equipped with external audio gear; here is a simple setup with a BeachTek DXA-SLR active DSLR adapter and Audio-Technica AT875 shotgun microphone.



It’s possible, however, that you don’t need to record any audio with your videos. With the 60D you have the option of turning sound recording off so that you are only recording the video. Be sure that you turn the Sound Recording setting back to On when you are finished so you don’t unintentionally record silent movies!



Nikon D7000, Shooting Long Exposures

We have covered some of the techniques for shooting in low light, so let’s go through the process of capturing a night or low-light scene for maximum image quality (Figure 8.7). The first thing to consider is that in order to shoot in low light with a low ISO, you will need to use shutter speeds that are longer than you could possibly hand-hold (longer than 1/15 of a second). This will require the use of a tripod or stable surface for you to place your camera on. For maximum quality, the ISO should be low, somewhere below 400. The long exposure noise reduction should be turned on to minimize the effects of exposing for longer durations.

Once you have noise reduction turned on, set your camera to Aperture Priority (A) mode. This way, you can concentrate on the aperture that you believe is most appropriate and let the camera determine the best shutter speed. If it is too dark for the autofocus to function properly, try manually focusing. Finally, consider using a cable release to activate the shutter. If you don’t have one, use either the Self-timer mode or Exposure Delay mode. Once you shoot the image, you may notice some lag time before it is displayed on the rear LCD. This is due to the noise reduction process, which can take anywhere from a fraction of a second up to 30 seconds, depending on the length of the exposure.

Flash Sync

The basic idea behind the term flash synchronization (flash sync for short) is that when you take a photograph using the flash, the camera needs to ensure that the shutter is fully open at the time that the flash goes off. This is not an issue if you are using a long shutter speed such as 1/15 of a second but does become more critical for fast shutter speeds. To ensure that the flash and shutter are synchronized so that the flash is going off while the shutter is open, the D7000 implements a top sync speed of 1/250 of a second. This means that when you are using the flash, you will not be able to have your shutter speed be any faster than 1/250. If you did use a faster shutter speed, the shutter would actually start closing before the flash fired, which would cause a black area to appear in the frame where the light from the flash was blocked by the shutter.

 This exposure took several tries until I finally got it right. Using a tripod was an absolute must. The longer exposure really helped with silhouetting the tree at the bottom of the frame.
Figure 8.7 This exposure took several tries until I finally got it right. Using a tripod was an absolute must. The longer exposure really helped with silhouetting the tree at the bottom of the frame.

Nikon D7000, Using Very High ISOs

Is ISO 6400 just not enough for you? Well, in that case, you will need to set your camera to one of the expanded ISO settings. These settings open up another 2 stops of ISO, raising the new limit to 12800. The new settings will not appear in your ISO scale as numbers, but as H 0.3 for 8000, H 0.7 for 10000, H 1 ISO for 12800, and H 2 ISO for 25600.

How to use the higher ISO settings

  1. Press and hold the ISO button (A). Then rotate the Command dial while observing the control panel. Rotate the dial until you reach the Hi settings, then release the ISO button.
  2. Select H 0.3, H 0.7, H 1.0, or H 2.0 (B).

the higher ISO settings

A word of warning about the expanded ISO settings: Although it is great to have these high ISO settings available during low-light shooting, they should always be your last resort. Even with the High ISO Noise Reduction turned on, the amount of visible noise will be extremely high. Try to avoid using high ISO whenever you can, but don’t skip an opportunity for a terrific shot because you’re afraid to use a higher ISO. The D7000 does remarkably well at 1600 and below, so experiment a little. Remember, a picture never taken is far worse than one with a little noise! (Figure 8.2).

If I hadn’t bumped my ISO up to 6400 I would have missed a great memory. Does the image have a little noise? Sure, but I would rather have it than not have the photo!
Figure 8.2 If I hadn’t bumped my ISO up to 6400 I would have missed a great memory. Does the image have a little noise? Sure, but I would rather have it than not have the photo!

Nikon D7000, Raising the ISO

Let’s begin with the obvious way to keep shooting when the lights get low: raising the ISO (Figure 8.1). By now you know how to change the ISO by using the ISO button and the Command dial. In typical shooting situations, you should keep the ISO in the 100–1000 range. This will keep your pictures nice and clean by keeping the digital noise to a minimum. But as the available light gets low, you might find yourself working in the higher ranges of the ISO scale, which could lead to more noise in your image.

Everyone has a different tolerance for digital noise, so experiment a bit with different ISO settings and see what your limit is. My tolerance depends on my subject. For my landscape photography I have a very low tolerance for digital noise, but for street photography I have been known to let it slide here and there.

Now, you could use a flash and try to avoid bumping up your ISO, but that has a limited range (15 to 20 feet) that might not work for you. Also, you could be in a situation where flash is prohibited, or at least frowned upon, like at a wedding or in a museum.

And what about a tripod in combination with a long shutter speed? That is also an option, and we’ll cover it a little later in the chapter. The problem with using a tripod and a slow shutter speed in low-light photography, though, is that it performs best when subjects aren’t moving. Besides, try to set up a tripod in a museum and see how quickly you grab the attention of the security guards.

So if the only choice to get the shot is to raise the ISO to 1000 or higher, make sure that you turn on the High ISO Noise Reduction feature. This custom menu function is set to Standard by default, but as you start using higher ISO values you should consider changing it to the High setting.

Raising the noise reduction to the High setting slightly increases the processing time for your images, so if you are shooting in continuous mode you might see a little reduction in the speed of your frames per second.

Hot tip

Don’t let digital noise stop you from taking a photo. There are tons of wonderful postproduction software programs that help remove digital noise from your image.

Wouldn’t you know it—the very first time I visited Times Square in New York City it decided to rain. But, the key to good street photography is being able to adapt. I bumped my ISO up to 2000 and got lucky.
Figure 8.1 Wouldn’t you know it—the very first time I visited Times Square in New York City it decided to rain. But, the key to good street photography is being able to adapt. I bumped my ISO up to 2000 and got lucky.

Noise reduction saves space

When shooting at very high ISO settings, running High ISO Noise Reduction at the Normal or High setting can save you space on your memory card. If you are saving your photos as JPEGs, the camera will compress the information in the image to take up less space. When you have excessive noise, you can literally add megabytes to the file size. This is because the camera has to deal with more information: It views the noise in the image as photo information and tries not to lose that information during the compression process. Thus, more noise equals bigger files. So not only will turning on the High ISO Noise Reduction feature improve the look of your image, it will also save you some space so you can take a few more shots.


Nikon D7000, Advanced Techniques to Explore

This section comes with a warning attached. All of the techniques and topics up to this point have been centered on your camera. The following two sections, covering panoramas and high dynamic range (HDR) images, require you to use image-processing software to complete the photograph. They are, however, important enough that you should know how to shoot for success should you choose to explore these two popular techniques.

Shooting panoramas

I’ve never been much for panoramas until I visited the Grand Teton National Park. The Tetons are probably one of my favorite mountain ranges and easily identifiable, but a single frame just doesn’t do them justice. Only a panorama can truly capture a mountain range, cityscape, or any extremely wide vista.

The multiple-image panorama

To shoot a true panorama, you need to use either a special panorama camera that shoots a very wide frame or the following method, which requires the combining of multiple frames.

The multiple-image pano, as photographers often call a panoramic, has gained in popularity in the past few years; this is principally due to advances in image-processing software. Many software options are available now that will take multiple images, align them, and then “stitch” them into a single panoramic image. The real key to shooting a multiple-image pano is to overlap your shots by about 30 percent from one frame to the next (Figures 7.19 and 7.20). It is possible to handhold the camera while capturing your images, but the best method for capturing great panoramic images is to use a tripod.

Now that you have your series of overlapping images, you can import them into your image-processing software to stitch them together and create a single panoramic image.

Here you see the makings of a panorama, with nine shots overlapping by about 30 percent from frame to frame.
Figure 7.19 Here you see the makings of a panorama, with nine shots overlapping by about 30 percent from frame to frame.
I used Adobe Photoshop to combine all of the exposures into one large panoramic image.
Figure 7.20 I used Adobe Photoshop to combine all of the exposures into one large panoramic image.

Sorting your shots for the multi-image panorama

If you shoot more than one series of shots for your panoramas, it can sometimes be difficult to know when one series of images ends and the other begins. Here is a quick tip for separating your images.

Set up your camera using the steps listed here. Now, before you take your first good exposure in the series, hold up one finger in front of the camera and take a shot. Move your hand away and begin taking your overlapping images. When you have taken your last shot, hold two fingers in front of the camera and take another shot.

Now, when you go to review your images, use the series of shots that falls between the frames with one and two fingers in them. Then just repeat the process for your next panorama series.

Shooting properly for a multiple-image panorama

  1. Mount your camera on your tripod and make sure it is level.
  2. In Aperture Priority mode, use a very small aperture for the greatest depth of field. Take a meter reading of a bright part of the scene, and make note of it.
  3. Now change your camera to Manual mode (M), and dial in the aperture and shutter speed that you obtained in the previous step.
  4. Set your lens to manual focus, and then focus it for the area of interest using the HFD method of finding a point one-third of the way into the scene. (If you use the autofocus, you risk getting different points of focus from image to image, which will make the image stitching more difficult for the software.)
  5. While carefully panning your camera, shoot your images to cover the entire area of the scene from one end to the other, leaving a 30 percent overlap from one frame to the next. The final step would involve using your favorite imaging software to take all of the photographs and combine them into a single panoramic image.

Shooting high dynamic range (HDR) images

High dynamic range (HDR) can create stunning images by using the full tonal range of an image. Depending upon your preference they can look quite real or very surreal. I have found people either love or hate HDR, but regardless of what side of the fence you are on it is a wonderful way to understand the effects of exposure on an image.

HDR is used quite often in landscape, cityscape, and, believe it or not, interior design images. Typically, when you photograph a scene that has a wide range of tones from shadows to highlights, you have to make a decision regarding which tonal values you are going to emphasize, and then adjust your exposure accordingly. This is because your camera has a limited dynamic range, at least as compared to the human eye. HDR photography allows you to capture multiple exposures for the highlights, shadows, and midtones, and then combine them into a single image using software (Figure 7.21).

A number of software applications allow you to combine the images and then perform a process called “tonemapping,” whereby the complete range of exposures is represented in a single image. I will not be covering the software applications, but I will explore the process of shooting a scene to help you render properly captured images for the HDR process. Note that using a tripod is absolutely necessary for this technique, since you need to have perfect alignment of the images when they are combined.

This tonemapped HDR image combines several exposures.
Figure 7.21 This tonemapped HDR image combines several exposures.

Setting up for shooting an HDR image

  1. Set your ISO to 100–200 to ensure clean, noise-free images.
  2. Set your program mode to Aperture Priority. During the shooting process, you will be taking three shots of the same scene, creating an overexposed image, an underexposed image, and a normal exposure. Since the camera is going to be adjusting the exposure, you want it to make changes to the shutter speed, not the aperture, so that your depth of field is consistent.
  3. Set your camera file format to RAW. This is extremely important because the RAW format contains a much larger range of exposure values than a JPEG file, and the HDR software needs this information.
  4. Change your shooting mode to continuous. This will allow you to capture your exposures quickly. Even though you will be using a tripod, there is always a chance that something within your scene will be moving (like clouds or leaves). Shooting in the continuous mode minimizes any subject movement between frames.
  5. Adjust the Auto Bracketing (BKT) mode to shoot three exposures in two-stop increments. To do this, you will first need to press the BKT button while moving the Command dial to the right.
  6. Now use the Sub-command dial to adjust the bracketing to 2.0.
  7. Focus the camera using the manual focus method discussed earlier in the chapter, compose your shot, secure the tripod, and hold down the shutter button until the camera has fired three consecutive times. The result will be one normal exposure, as well as one under- and one overexposed image.

Setting up for shooting an HDR image

A software program such as Adobe Photoshop, Photomatix Pro, or my favorite, Nik Software’s HDR Efex Pro, can now process your exposure-bracketed images into a single HDR file. Remember to turn the BKT function back to Off when you are done or the camera will continue to shoot bracketed images.

Bracketing your exposures

In HDR, bracketing is the process of capturing a series of exposures at different stop intervals. You can bracket your exposures even if you aren’t going to be using HDR. Sometimes this is helpful when you have a tricky lighting situation and you want to ensure that you have just the right exposure to capture the look you’re after. In HDR, you bracket to the plus and minus side of a “normal” exposure, but you can also bracket all of your exposures to the over or under side of normal. It all depends on what you are after. If you aren’t sure whether you are getting enough shadow detail, you can bracket a little toward the overexposed side. The same is true for highlights. You can bracket in increments as small as a third of a stop. This means that you can capture several images with very subtle exposure variances and then decide later which one is best. If you want to bracket just to one side of a normal exposure, set your exposure compensation to +1 or –1, whichever way you need, and the use the bracketing feature to automatically bracket your exposures.



Canon EOS 60D, Exposure Settings for Video

Setting the exposure for video is similar to setting exposure for still photographs, but you will notice a few differences that will only apply when recording movies. One obvious difference is that you can only view your scene in Live View, and the LCD Monitor will display a simulated exposure for what your video will look like during the recording process. There are also some limitations on shutter speed and exposure—keep on reading to learn more about them.


When shooting movies on the 60D, you have two options for exposure: Auto and Manual. When shooting in Auto, the camera determines all exposure settings (aperture, shutter speed, and ISO), whereas with Manual, you have control over these settings just as you would when shooting still images. Auto is a simple setting to use if you want to get a quick video and don’t have the time to change the settings manually. However, with autoexposure you have limited control, and if you want to take full advantage of your DSLR and lenses when shooting video, you’ll probably want to give the Manual mode a try.

The Manual mode for video functions in the same way as it does for still photography: You pick the aperture, shutter speed, and ISO. You can even change your settings while you are recording (although the microphone might pick up camera noises— read more about audio later in this chapter). I prefer to use the Manual mode when shooting video because I like to have control over all of my settings, and I also like to use the largest aperture possible to decrease the depth of field in the scene.

One important thing to note when shooting video is that you have some shutter speed limitations, depending on your frames-per-second setting. The slowest shutter speed when shooting with a frame rate of 50 or 60 fps is 1/60 of a second, and for 24, 25, or 30 fps, you can go down to 1/30 of a second. You can’t go any faster than 1/4000 of a second, but it’s recommended that you keep your shutter speed between 1/30 and 1/125 of a second, especially when photographing a moving subject. The slower your shutter speed is, the smoother and less choppy the movement in your video will be.



  1. Set the camera to video mode using the Mode dial on the top of the camera.
  2. Press the Menu button and use the Main dial to get to the first menu tab, and then select the Movie Exposure option at the top (A). Press the Set button.
  3. Make your selection (Auto or Manual), and then press the Set button once again to lock in your changes (B).


When shooting video, you want to be sure to get the white balance right. Remember the difference between RAW and JPEG. Well, think of a video file as a JPEG. If you were to edit the video file on your computer, it would be difficult to change the white balance without damaging the pixels, and if the white balance is completely off, you might not even be able to salvage the video’s original colors.

What’s neat about shooting video is that you can see what the video quality will be like before you start recording. This means that you can set the white balance and see it changing right in front of you

Picture styles are also a very useful tool when shooting video. They work the same way as with still photography and you can preview your scene with the changes while in the video Live View mode. Just remember that once you record in one of these settings, you can’t change this quality of the video. For example, when using the Monochrome (black and white) picture style, once you’ve recorded a movie, there is no way to go back and retrieve the color information.