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  • How to add contrast.

    Hi...I have a Sony nex3...I have been trying to understand the basics, I'm aware of Aperture / shutter speed ...I'm trying to get to grips with Manual settings. I'm using it all the time to gain experience. How can I introduce more contrast to pictures?. I believe that if I alter exposure,this will help...but all the other settings seem to jump around!

    Thanks Ian.

  • #2
    Re: How to add contrast.

    With manual exposure you are in control of the brightness (exposure) of the image instead of the camera. You can alter the size of the aperture iris in the lens to allow more or less light through. You can alter the time that the shutter is open (shutter speed) to alter how much light is let through. It's a balancing act, you can adjust both aperture and shutter speed to achieve optimal exposure. Your camera should show an exppsure indiactor on the screen in manual mode - probably in EV (Exposure Value) numbers, like 0.3EV, 0.7EV, 1.0EV - and these numbers can be negative as well. Assuming the camera's exposure metering is dependable then you would normally want to aim for 0EV, which indicates a balance between shutter speed and aperture to give the correct exposure.

    As for contrast - if you over or under expose an image, to an extent contrast will be affected negatively. But contrast is mostly a consequence of the subject and the lighhting conditions - you will get more contrast in bright sunlight than on a gloomy overcast day. If you feel a picture you have taken requires more contrast then you can boost contrast in post-processing (Photoshop or whatever you use).

    Ian
    Founder/editor
    Digital Photography Now (DPNow.com)
    Twitter: www.twitter.com/ian_burley
    Flickr: www.flickr.com/photos/dpnow/
    Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/ianburley/

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    • #3
      Re: How to add contrast.

      Originally posted by ipri View Post
      Hi...I have a Sony nex3...I have been trying to understand the basics, I'm aware of Aperture / shutter speed ...I'm trying to get to grips with Manual settings. I'm using it all the time to gain experience. How can I introduce more contrast to pictures?. I believe that if I alter exposure,this will help...but all the other settings seem to jump around!

      Thanks Ian.
      You don't say whether you are using JPG or RAW, if JPG (bearing in mind JPG files throw away up to 60% of the information the camera captures which is then rebuilt in the computer) the in camera processing should do something with the contrast.
      If RAW the image can look very flat but as all information is retained post processing well used should give you the contrast you my be looking for.

      Patrick

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      • #4
        Re: How to add contrast.

        Thanks,

        My query was really relating to getting better contrast with the camera itself. I read somewhere that forcing the camera to underexpose can achieve this. Ian

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        • #5
          Re: How to add contrast.

          Originally posted by ipri View Post
          Thanks,

          My query was really relating to getting better contrast with the camera itself. I read somewhere that forcing the camera to underexpose can achieve this. Ian
          That was in film days, under or over expose then modify the develop time to compensate affected the contrast of the negative. Digital can do the same but its to the best of my knowledge strictly done via post processing.

          The in camera JPG processing can be modified via the camera menu where sharpening contrast and saturation can be modified to your own tasts. Perhaps that's what you are looking for, care should be taken though if contrast is increased then on a bright sunny day where subjects are contrasty to start with you could end up with images so contrasty they would be unpleasant to view.

          Patrick

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          • #6
            Re: How to add contrast.

            If you are using JPEG files from the camera and not RAW (RAW is recommended but it's best to master your camera and the use of JPEG images first), you can increase the contrast using an adjustment setting in the camera. Off the top of my head I can't remember how to do this with your particular camera but it should be reasonably easy to find in the manual. Other settings you should be able to find in a similar menu would be sharpness and saturation.

            I'd be careful with settings like these because they may be good for a particular scenario but not for another. Remember to reset the setting to the default when appropriate.

            Ian
            Founder/editor
            Digital Photography Now (DPNow.com)
            Twitter: www.twitter.com/ian_burley
            Flickr: www.flickr.com/photos/dpnow/
            Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/ianburley/

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            • #7
              Re: How to add contrast.

              Originally posted by ipri View Post
              Hi...I have a Sony nex3...I have been trying to understand the basics, I'm aware of Aperture / shutter speed ...I'm trying to get to grips with Manual settings. I'm using it all the time to gain experience. How can I introduce more contrast to pictures?. I believe that if I alter exposure,this will help...but all the other settings seem to jump around!

              Thanks Ian.
              ipri,

              I know you're doing a lot of reading and experimenting and you seem to be going great guns , well done you!

              There are others infinitely more experienced than me here and you've already had some great advice and information. One other thing about digital is to be aware of the importance of the histogram levels in an image, also ways of adjusting those levels and curves - which can make a huge difference to contrast

              The adjustments are usually made in imaging software but you can also check the histogram of an image in-camera after you've shot it. So you can experiment by taking a shot several times and check the histogram of each in-camera and see the variations.

              Have a look at the following links as they'll give you a better idea of what I'm wittering on about ...

              http://www.luminous-landscape.com/tu...stograms.shtml

              http://www.cambridgeincolour.com/tut...istograms1.htm

              http://www.digitalcameraworld.com/tag/histogram/

              I hope they help.

              Pol

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