Posts Tagged 'Basic photography tutorial'

Polarizing Filter – Digital Photography

The benefit of a Polarizing Filter in digital photography

This is a popular question often asked by students in my digital camera workshops, especially Polarizing Filters. I thought it would be an interesting topic for our Photo Tip.

For a moment, let’s pretend that we live in the ‘pre-digital’ era when we had the film as our media to capture an image. Manufacturers set the sensitivity of film to light, the type of colour (Negative or Slide) or monochrome (Black and White) and colour temperature, and we could not change any of them unless we changed the film type. It was important – at that time – to know the filters and their effects on your photos. Thanks to digital technology, we control almost all of these variables by understanding digital camera settings such as ISO, White Balance, Styles, etc.

In Part One of a discussion on filters, I will discuss the Polarizing Filter and its effect.

What is a Polarizing Filter?

Polarize filters, just like polarized lenses, remove most of the scene’s reflections and result in a sharper and more saturated image. The following examples clearly demonstrate how a polarizing filter can improve the image.

Without Polarizing Filter

polarizing filter
No polarizing filter in this image

With Polarizing Filter

polarizing filter
By using Polarizing Filter you can reduce the haze and add more saturation to colours

Comparison

polarizing filter
With polarizing filter (right) compare to without polarizing filter (left)

What kind of Polarizing Filter do you need?

Polarizing Filters and Autofocus Lens

With autofocus lenses, you should choose a Circular Polarizing filter. Polarizing filters are usually dark and consist of two parts. By rotating the outer ring, you can adjust the direction of polarizing.

A polarizing Filter

Polarizing Filter
The high quality polarizing filter is the best investment

Can I use editing software to create Polarizing Filter effect?

The short answer is: No, I don’t recommend it. When there are reflections or glare in an image, you need to recreate all the data in those areas. And this is a painstaking job!  I recommend investing in a high-quality Polarizing Filter; this will allow you to get the best results, spend less time on the computer and be out enjoying photography more.

Without Polarizing Filter

Polarizing Filter
No Polarizing Filter. Notice the reflection on the desk that makes the colours faded and overall dark photo

With Polarizing Filter

polarizing filter
Just by adding a polarizing filter, the reflection is removed and more colours and sharpness were added to the image

That is all for now. Stay tuned for my next photography Tips.  Check our Upcoming Photography Classes, and We love to hear from you. Let us know if you have any questions; feel free to send us your questions, and we will be more than happy to answer them. Follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for more Free Tutorials and Tips.

Ted and the Omnilargess Team

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White Balance or Exposure

Should you check your White Balance or Exposure?

Achieving perfectly balanced images

In all the years I have been teaching digital photography, this question is one of the most common ones I get asked: “When a photo does not look right, should I check the white balance or the exposure?”

In this article I will discuss the answer to this question. Let’s begin with a few definitions.

What is Exposure?

Exposure is the brightness and contrast in a photo. A correct exposure is one that provides enough brightness and contrast of the scene, somewhat close to what our human eyes can see.

Normal Exposure

White balance or exposure
A correct exposure provides the brightness and contrast that our eyes can see

Under exposed photo

An under exposed photo is dark
An under exposed photo is dark

Over exposed photo

Over exposed photos do not have contrast
Over exposed photos do not have contrast

What influence does White Balance have?

White Balance controls the rendition of the colours. If the colour in your photos appears off and doesn’t look right, you need to check the white balance setting.

Correct White Balance

A correct White Balance photo. Check the colour black on the camera body. There is no colour cast.
A correct White Balance photo. Check the colour black on the camera body. There is no colour cast.

Incorrect White Balance

Incorrect White Balance caused a yellow colour cast, which is more visible especially on camera body.
Incorrect White Balance caused a yellow colour cast, which is more visible especially on camera body.

A simple tip to diagnose what is incorrect in a photo by evaluating exposure or white balance.

If the photo is too dark or too bright and lacks contrast, look to the exposure as the reason why. If you don’t already do this, I encourage you to get into the habit of using your Histogram to help you to judge the exposure precisely.

On the other hand, if the colours are not correct, for example too yellow or blue (Colour Cast), this is due to an incorrect white balance setting.

Histogram for a correct exposed image

Histogram shows all different tones which are available on the image
Histogram shows all different tones which are available on the image

Histogram for an incorrect exposed image

Notice how histogram changed and shifted to left. You don't see the wide range of tonality.
Notice how histogram changed and shifted to left. You don't see the wide range of tonality.

Keep in mind that most of the time an under exposed picture can show a blue cast so my suggestion is to check the exposure first and make sure it is correct and then check and adjust the white balance.

Under exposed photo and colour cast

An under exposed or over exposed photo can create unwanted colour cast.
An under exposed or over exposed photo can create unwanted colour cast.

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