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Please help with Dark photos


chillman

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:(| I took some digital photos for my church and some of them are real dark. I used the auto contrast on them and they look not really blurry, but have color spots in them. Basically they look like crap. Can anyone help, and are there any tutorials here on fixing this? The camera I used is a Kodak DX4350 5 mega pixel. Also, some tips on shooting in low light would help too. \:] The images I took using the night time setting came out blurry. I really need help with the contrast issue though. Thank you very much! ;\

Here are examples of what I was talking about...

 
J

John1

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What you probably see chillman, is noise. The photo was probably taken with a higher ISO setting under low light conditions. Every digital camera has some noise, more expensive cameras have less.
This noise is most visible when you don't have a lot of light to work with, that's just the downsize of most digital cameras.

However, I do need to see an example to advice you on how to fix it. It's possible to fix it in Photoshop or with some 3rd party plugin. The final result however is not going to be excellent, because you'll always lose some quality. These colored pixels might also be what they call hot pixels, but again, I need to see an example first.

If images come out blurry, then it's caused by

- a slower shutter speed
- the camera was moving
- the main object in the photograph was moving

One question is; is the whole shot blurry or only the main subject?

It's important to make sure that you hold your camera very steady. Place your camera on an object or against a wall if you have to.

The risk of blurry pictures increases if your shutter speed is close to 1/60 sec. But with 1/60 sec you'll have another problem, because it's very difficult to shoot moving objects with that speed. Even a slight move of your main subject can make the final image look blurry.
In general: the less light you have to work with, the slower the shutter speed (more blurry shots!), unless you increase the iso setting or increase aperture (=lower number).

It also helps if you have a lens that can capture a lot of light. Mine starts at aperture 1.8, which can mean the difference between shooting with 1/60 sec or 1/125 sec. Avoid to zoom in under low light conditions if not really necessary, because you'll decrease the light that's passing your lens.

Of course, it always helps to use flash, but I'm sorry to say that most pictures taken with these built in flashes look crappy. They're more usefull as fill in flash.

Btw, do your pictures look dark when you use automatic exposure or when you use manual? Again, I really need to see an example of such a dark picture to tell you what went wrong. It's probably the light meter that got confused.

Need more questions? Feel free to ask :)
 

theKeeper

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Excellent help/advice John, thank you very much. Now that's what we like to see. :perfect:

Another small thing to note in these cases too is if your camera is saving as Jpg by default. If it is, but you have an option to use Tiff or Bmp, i'd advise changing that setting.

My brother's camera is notorious for this same problem. It's a slightly order camera and it has a real problem with low-light issues. Even when the subject is lit by flourescent lighting. I'm no camera buff... but this is just something i've noticed about digital cameras in general.
 
J

John1

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Thanks Mark ;)

Chillman, what I forgot to mention; low light conditions can also increase the risk that the auto focus gets confused. You may think that the image was sharp once the camera took the shot, but it can happen that they still turn out blurry.
 

Erik

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Right. So what can I add?

Ahh, yes! In case your camera has an option to turn off the sharpening, do turn it off. A camera can never use the same algorithms a puter can as its processor is, compared to nowadays puters boringly weak. If you can save as raw, do so. Convert to tif either in the soft that came with it and don't tweak anything, but import in PS, or if you have PS CS, import directly.
If you ever sharpen something, do so at the very end of the process.
 

chillman

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:D Thank You all very much. I appreciate the feedback. I'll post a before and after shot when I get home tonight so you can see what I am working with. All of your help is appreciated. :perfect:
 

Shreck

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There is more information in your picture than you are realizing.
The example here shows there is a lot of detail still left in the shadows that you may not have brought out. The real trick is to lighten without color shifts or blowing out the highlights.
There are a lot of artifacts, but the image is only a few hundred pixels wide(and Jpegged). I'll bet that with your 5 Mb original you can get a Lot more detail than here without any perceptable artifacting.
Noise is different issue and part of the image capture process(your camera), as opposed to the image processing process(PhotoShop).
As mentioned above, one way to reduce noise is to shoot at a lower ISO.
shreck
 

Hatch

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Hi Shreck,

Not sure if this is the method you are looking for. The image is far from lost. Give this a try.


Pretty easy and I think the image looks pretty nice whithout being blown out. Of course...eash image will be different and you will have to adjust to meet your needs. Using the High Pass filter to sharpen is a great non-destructive way of sharpening. You could go a little further if the filter sharpens areas of the image to much. Apply a mask to the layer and mask out the filter effects. You can use the same method to give an image a soft blur... if you inverse the high pass layer you can produce nice effects.



Hope this helps. :}

Hatch
 

dbazuin

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Chillma,

If you happens to have PhotoShop CS you can try the new shadow and highlight adjustment tool. it is under image > adjustments.

It is very easy and quick.
I use it a lot these day's.

Greetings Dirk
 

chillman

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Thanks for all the info! Every bit of it helps! No CS though. Only 7. You guys are awesome! :}
 

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