Tips on Lighting Contrast, Flash Output, and Camera Settings
Here are three tips to make your pictures better. This article gives some helpful information on lighting contrast, flash output, and camera settings.
1. Avoid Contrasty Situation
First of all, let's talk about the contrast. Contrast problems can occur both while shooting with a digital or a film camera. However, these problems are harder to handle on digital ones, since the data on too dark and too light areas is lost more often with them rather than with film ones, where it can be restored to some point. Even if you try to find a compromise and balance the exposure to equally picture all areas, shadows tend to get darker and highlights tend to get washed out anyway.
There are some techniques to reduce these effects, but it is always better to avoid such contrasty situations. A perfect example of one is a patchy lighting situation. However, you can take a portrait on an overcast day (even a bright one) and loose details in skin tone because the contrast can be still a little too much for a digital camera to cope with.
2. Reducing Your Flash Output
Sometimes the light output your compact digital camera's flash produces is just too much. However, there is a solution to this situation. Obviously, the best thing to do is to program your camera's flash to put out less light (set it to -1, -2, etc.). But if this is not possible with your camera or if it still puts out too much light, there is a simple trick to help you: just hold your index finger in front of the flash head, covering it partially or completely. This may seem a quite weird thing to do, but it actually does the trick. Above that, light of the flash gets much warmer while going through your finger which makes a better effect on the output image.
3. Remember Your Camera Settings
It's very easy to change various settings in your camera, such as White Balance, ISO, etc. But it is far harder to remember those setting and not to forget to change them back when necessary. There is a good way to solve this problem. Just move a piece of colored gaffer tape into an area where it can be easily seen as a reminder. This way you will always remember that you have made some changes to the original settings.
This is extremely important if you are using exposure compensation. Place the tape in a place where it does not attract much attention after returning your settings back to usual. This can be done many times with a single tape. It will still stick well and will not leave any residue.