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Photographic Contrast
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Photographic Contrast


A brief slide deck to help explain photographic contrast.

A brief slide deck to help explain photographic contrast.

Published in Art & Photos , Technology
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  • 1. Contrast The difference between light and dark areas in an image.
  • 2. Camera vs. your eye? The camera cannot capture near the range of tones that the human eye can. That’s why we need to be aware of what tones it is able to capture.
  • 3. High Contrast A large range of tones. Very dark blacks and bright whites.
  • 4. Low Contrast A small range of tones. Very gray, flat, muddy.
  • 5. It’s all in the timing Around noon on a sunny day, the light is very contrasty, direct, and harsh. Around sunrise/sunset, light is less contrasty, because it’s diffused by more atmosphere (not to mention longer shadows to create more depth in your images.)
  • 6. Cloudy Days... Overcast skies produce less contrast, because the sunlight is very diffused. This can be good for shooting portraits, but not so good for landscapes.
  • 7. Don’t look at the sun! Shooting directly into the sun will kill your contrast and confuse the light meter in your camera.
  • 8. Bad Flare... Shooting toward the sun can also cause lens flare!
  • 9. What can I do about it? We can’t change the sun or the clouds. We can photograph early or late in the day if the sunlight is too harsh. We can move our subject out of direct sun and into shadows (besides helping get the contrast down, it’ll keep your subject from squinting so much.)
  • 10. Too contrasty
  • 11. Better...
  • 12. Now let’s go take some great pictures!