Help with a photo please

Danny Long2

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I'm on holiday trying to take a picture of the missus with a sunny background, all I'm getting is a great picture of the landscape but her face is black. I'm on auto setting.
 

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berfles

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Tap on her face, if that doesn't do it, tap on her face and adjust the brightness until it does. It's going to blow the background out though. That situation isn't really the best for photography, where the subject is in shadows and the background is in sun.
 

Nakrohtap

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Tapping on her face should solve the darkness. Not sure why that wouldn't work. As the other poster said, it will probably blow out the background, though. People take pictures in this lighting situation a lot. It's not the most desirable scenario, but it should work.
You can sit in a normal lit room when it's bright outside the windows and click on the window or something in the room and get the correct lighting for what you click on. If this doesn't work for you, something is wrong.
 

Danny Long2

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all this is on auto?
if I moved the camera down to the sofa it focussed on that and blew out the background but then when I tilted it back up to her face it made the background look good and her face went black.

tried the flash but it made no difference
 

Mooncatt

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This is a tricky setting for any camera.

The easiest option would be to turn the flash on (not to auto flash, but fully on to shoot regardless of the setting). Hopefully that will highlight your subject and the app doesn't try to compensate by reducing the overall exposure. Keep in mind that the flash on phones are weak and may not make a difference in bright settings like in the sample photo.

Use HDR. This takes multiple photos at different exposures, then combines them to create one image with a more balanced exposure. Theoretically it'll have one image for the dark areas that make your subject light, which it blends with one exposed for the background. The down side is flash will not work in this setting, and this is an automatic process that may not give you the desired results. If this doesn't work and you don't mind editing, you could use an app like Camera FV-5 that has exposure bracketing. This function takes several images of different exposures, but saves them individually for you to make your own HDR composite.

If I were taking such a shot, I'd flip into manual mode plus flash and adjust the exposure as bright as I can without blowing out the background. I would also make sure to be saving as RAW to give me greater editing flexibility. Set the ISO to minimum to limit noise, then slow down the shutter speed to get a brighter image (for action shots, this may cause blurring and you'd need to increase the ISO setting to compensate). You may need to take multiple photos to get all the settings balanced. After the shot, you can then use a photo editor to bring up the exposure in the dark areas. How successful this is depends a lot on the dynamic range of the sensor and the specific lighting conditions. If the sensor has a good dynamic range, you'll be able to bring up the shadowed areas with minimal increased noise. Saving and editing as a RAW image gives you all of that data to work with. Jpegs loose a lot of information during the conversion process, so you won't have near as much detail to work with when editing something like this.

Such is the nature of photography. Not everything can be shot on fully automatic mode and give you the results you want. Auto mode is letting the camera set the exposure and edit the RAW image based on what some programmer coded it to do. It doesn't know what your intentions are. Even a professional grade DSLR may give similarly poor results when left in auto mode. I know most smartphone users just want to tap the shot button and have a great photo pop out, but sometimes you have to put some effort into it or just accept the limitations of auto mode.
 

Mooncatt

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totally baffled but thanks for the comprehensive reply. will have a play tomorrow
I often say I can be clear or concise, but not both. Lol.

What it boils down to is high contrast photos like what you showed above require some finesse to get right. If you have any questions about my suggestions or need something explained better, let me know.
 

monicakm

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totally baffled but thanks for the comprehensive reply. will have a play tomorrow

Auto mode in any camera does the best it can with what it has to work with and no help from the person behind the camera. It can be good but it has it's limits. That scene can't be achieved in auto mode and most definitely with a smartphone camera.

With my Canon bridge camera, I would spot meter (lighting) on the background and use the flash to illuminate the foreground. Trying that in Pro mode on the Note 9 didn't work for me. I made some other adjustments to help with the foreground but, of course, that made the background too washed out.

Did you bring a dedicated camera?
 

Nakrohtap

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all this is on auto?
if I moved the camera down to the sofa it focussed on that and blew out the background but then when I tilted it back up to her face it made the background look good and her face went black.

tried the flash but it made no difference
When you tilted it back up to her face, did you tap on the screen where her face is? That tells the camera where to focus and expose.
You can hold the camera still in a room and click on various parts of the scene and it should adjust automatically to the settings needed for best exposure.
 

edubb256

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As others have said that is a tough situation for any camera. Samsung is supposed to be having an update come out some that is suppose to improve result in this situation. To get the best results:

1. I think you might actually do better in auto mode than you would in pro mode, because I'm pretty sure HDR does not work in pro mode.
2. Make sure HDR is turned on and touch her face on the screen to set that as the exposure point.
3. To me it is often easier to not fiddle with settings and just shoot in Auto when I'm trying to get a quick shot. In those situations you can do some post processing later on. In this case you could improve the photo by lifting the shadows (e.g., use Google Photos slider to lift the shadows).
The picture you uploaded was very heavily cropped, so not much could be done. But to give you an idea, below I spent about 30 seconds lifting the shadows and it looks a little better, but not much. Lifting the shadows on the original (uncropped version) should look much better).

1357a.jpg
 

Mooncatt

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The picture you uploaded was very heavily cropped, so not much could be done. But to give you an idea, below I spent about 30 seconds lifting the shadows and it looks a little better, but not much. Lifting the shadows on the original (uncropped version) should look much better).
It isn't cropped, but compressed. Jpegs are already compressed from the original RAW file (even in auto mode, the app edits and then discards the RAW file, saving only the jpeg), and compressed heavily again by uploading to this site.
 

edubb256

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It isn't cropped, but compressed. Jpegs are already compressed from the original RAW file (even in auto mode, the app edits and then discards the RAW file, saving only the jpeg), and compressed heavily again by uploading to this site.

Yes, I should have said compressed but the same conclusion applies. When I saved the image it was 57KB, compared to about 4.5MB of JPEGs coming out of the camera.
 

Centerman66

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This is a tricky setting for any camera.

The easiest option would be to turn the flash on (not to auto flash, but fully on to shoot regardless of the setting). Hopefully that will highlight your subject and the app doesn't try to compensate by reducing the overall exposure. Keep in mind that the flash on phones are weak and may not make a difference in bright settings like in the sample photo.

Use HDR. This takes multiple photos at different exposures, then combines them to create one image with a more balanced exposure. Theoretically it'll have one image for the dark areas that make your subject light, which it blends with one exposed for the background. The down side is flash will not work in this setting, and this is an automatic process that may not give you the desired results. If this doesn't work and you don't mind editing, you could use an app like Camera FV-5 that has exposure bracketing. This function takes several images of different exposures, but saves them individually for you to make your own HDR composite.

If I were taking such a shot, I'd flip into manual mode plus flash and adjust the exposure as bright as I can without blowing out the background. I would also make sure to be saving as RAW to give me greater editing flexibility. Set the ISO to minimum to limit noise, then slow down the shutter speed to get a brighter image (for action shots, this may cause blurring and you'd need to increase the ISO setting to compensate). You may need to take multiple photos to get all the settings balanced. After the shot, you can then use a photo editor to bring up the exposure in the dark areas. How successful this is depends a lot on the dynamic range of the sensor and the specific lighting conditions. If the sensor has a good dynamic range, you'll be able to bring up the shadowed areas with minimal increased noise. Saving and editing as a RAW image gives you all of that data to work with. Jpegs loose a lot of information during the conversion process, so you won't have near as much detail to work with when editing something like this.

Such is the nature of photography. Not everything can be shot on fully automatic mode and give you the results you want. Auto mode is letting the camera set the exposure and edit the RAW image based on what some programmer coded it to do. It doesn't know what your intentions are. Even a professional grade DSLR may give similarly poor results when left in auto mode. I know most smartphone users just want to tap the shot button and have a great photo pop out, but sometimes you have to put some effort into it or just accept the limitations of auto mode.
Agree with Moon. Thats a tough shot for a pro level DLSR. I too would choose flash fill.
 

Fred98TJ

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Agree with Moon. Thats a tough shot for a pro level DLSR. I too would choose flash fill.

Difficult to use the “flash” on the phone. That’s one of the problems with cellphone cameras (modern cellphones) is that you can’t use a real (xenon) flash with them, even a remotely fired off cam flash won’t produce a useable photo with a cell phone camera.

Anyway pulling as an example I increased th exposure a touch, decreased the contrast, pulled the shadows up, sunk the highlights a lot, increased the white point and slightly pulled back the black point.

The file I pulled from here is, of course, a low res jpg some there really no head room to work with.

I would have shot it, if you’re not into raw, as hdr. Me though, I seldom use a cellphone cam anymore and I would have simply made the photo in raw and post p it.
 

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Fred98TJ

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Hehehe :p

Nice light trails.

For those who don’t know or understand (and I suspect most here) the cell phones don’t have a mechanical shutter and thus can not use a real (as in xenon) flash as found on actual none cell phone cameras and the remote flash units.
Electronic shutters have a few problems, inability to use a flash being one of them. The LEDs on the cell phones should not be mistaken for a flash. :p. They are simply a light that is turned on and off, relatively slowly (have to because of the electronic shutter). You can’t really do any stop action flash with them. :)
 

Mooncatt

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For those who don’t know or understand (and I suspect most here) the cell phones don’t have a mechanical shutter and thus can not use a real (as in xenon) flash as found on actual none cell phone cameras and the remote flash units.
There have been several phones (and can now include mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras) with xenon flashes.
 

Fred98TJ

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There have been several phones (and can now include mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras) with xenon flashes.

Yes there have been several cell phone cams (though no current ones that I’m aware of) that had xenon flashes. And the reason they could use that flash is because they had mechanical shutters.
Of course MILC cameras and DSLR cams have and/or can use xenon flashes, because they have mechanical shutters (in addition also electronic shutters).
Some old Samsung’s had xenon flashes because they had mechical shutters.
Nokia had a handful of cell phones that used mechanical shutters and xenon flashes (N8, 808 Pureview, 1020 Pureview, etc.). They took photos that even today would put many of the top tier phones to shame (minus a few, relatively new techniques such as HDR).
 

Mooncatt

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Yes there have been several cell phone cams (though no current ones that I’m aware of) that had xenon flashes. And the reason they could use that flash is because they had mechanical shutters.

I didn't realise that, I thought they were electronic shutters from the photos I saw of their lenses. I did some more digging on the issue, and I stand corrected.