Monday, May 10, 2010

Instructor's Tip: Preserve White Detail

I hope you enjoy this week's "Instructor's Tip" by one of my favorite instructors, award winning nature photographer Russ Burden. I personally have a ton of trouble exposing to maintain white details especially when shooting things such as skiers on snowcapped mountains. To learn more about how Russ captured the above image, join him on one of his photo tours. Visit Russ Burden Photography to get more information.

Photo by Russ Burden

Preserve White Detail
Photographers need to be concerned when white is a key part of an image. If detail is blown out in white areas, it can’t be recovered. This makes getting the proper exposure critical. When white is prominent, bias the overall exposure on this tone. Check both the blinking highlights and the histogram. You’ll need to adjust your exposure based on how much white is influencing the exposure and also how much sun is playing upon the white subject. The more intense the white, the more you’ll need to compensate.

When properly exposed, images where the main subject contains a lot of white can be very dramatic as the subject becomes more pronounced due to its light value. In that the viewer will always be attracted to the brightest part of the image, there will be no doubt as to what the photographer intended the viewer to gaze upon. If the white subject can be offset against a dark background, it increases the contrast and emphasizes the subject that much more. Look for ways to work with the contrast or use color to your advantage. The fewer colors the better as there will be less secondary information to confuse the person looking at the image.

Check out Burden's "How To Tips" featured on Outdoor Photographer's website. The seven that are dated February 4th are his. Just underneath the articles, be sure to click on page 1 to see an additional 9.

Don't forget to check Take Great Pictures for Burden's most recent tips. On the home page, click on the "Photo Tips And Techniques" button in the left hand column. Additionally, check out his "Digital Tip of the Month" found by clicking on the Digital Photography button.

To learn more about this subject, join Burden on one of his photo tours.

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