Thursday, September 29, 2011

Correcting An Underexposed Shot

Working on a shot this morning and I thought I would post about it. This was shot in Phoenix with nothing but a standard tungsten interview light kit. With daylight correction gels on each lamp, it was just not enough light to match the subject's lighting to the level of the windows in the background. Because of that, I left her underexposed in order to keep the windows from blooming too much. To get enough rim light on her hair, I had to put my light stand just behind her and in the shot. I was careful to shoot a clean slate (without her in the seat) for replacing that area of the frame in post, and did so with an 8-point garbage matte cutting out around the light and stand.

In color correcting the shot, I cranked the mids way up and then boosted the saturation to compensate for the desaturation that naturally occurs. Because I shot with a camera that has good detail in the shadows and did my grading in a 10-bit environment, the shot looks fairly natural--just a tiny bit of grain. I also added a face light, which is like a little bright spot over just her face and upper body. This helps set her off even more from the rest of the image. One other thing that would focus the attention on her would be to do a vignette centered on her. I tried that look, but really prefer this shot to have a little brighter and more open feel, so I decided against it.

The only thing I wish on this shot is that I would have had a larger sensor to work with on the camera. The background is just in too sharp a focus for my taste. One more thing to point out about the text. I really like the look of the thin lettering I have chosen. Because it is so thin, however, it tends to get lost in the background. My solution on this one is to have the text moving just slightly (the words slowly pass one another), which always makes it more readable.