Last week we talked about metering off a gray card when your scene was mostly white. So of course this week we are going to push forward and understand black. So pull out that gray card again!
Learn by Doing!
Take 2 pictures one with a gray card and one without. If you don’t have a gray card use anything in the house that is a middle gray like a gray pillow a gray jacket etc.
Picture 1 – Make sure your scene is mostly black. Turn your camera to manual Take the picture according to what your camera meter sees as a perfectly exposed picture.
Picture 2 – Put your gray card in front of your picture, adjust your exposure until it is on the 0. When you move your gray card out of the picture your meter will tell you this is the wrong exposure. Going ahead and take the picture, but don’t change your meter.
Here is a picture I took of my son’s DSi case. The one on the left is metered to the camera exposure which looks more gray than black. The one on the right is metered off a gray card and definitely looks black.
A little bit about our meter:
Our camera is deigned to render subjects middle gray or 18%. Black reflects approximately 9% so the camera over exposes trying to make your picture middle gray (18%) I try to remember this saying when I have a scene that is mostly black – add dark to dark! Since the camera is going to over expose we need to adjust accordingly. The opposite is true for white, since the camera is going to underexpose we need to add light to light.
Here is the picture I took last week that shows all three colors. White, gray and black. When I zoomed in on the individual colors they all took on a gray color because our camera sees in neutral gray. This is starting to sink in as I keep doing these experiments. Our camera does not see in color or in black and white but rather a neutral gray.