I have a new Nikon D3100 which I am very happy with, as far as ease of operation and the different options that come with the camera. However, this is the third time I have had my images processed (printed by commercial photo labs) and they are coming out too dark. The parts of the image that are in the shade (from trees, buildings, etc.) are darker than I would like to see. It seems like there is too much contrast between dark and light areas. I have tried to correct this with image editing software before having them processed, but the results are underwhelming. I am using mostly the auto settings on my camera, but have also fooled with the aperture settings and the shutter speed to see if I can get better results. Does anyone have any idea on what can be done to help solve this? Thanks!
#1. "RE: Dark images with D3100" In response to Reply # 0 Thu 29-Sep-11 12:51 AM by aolander
"It seems like there is too much contrast between dark and light areas."
You have answered your own question. The range of dark to bright is too great for the sensor to capture with everything exposed as you might like it. Our eyes can adapt to wide contrast ranges, but the camera cannot see like we do. Make sure your images are exposed properly and boost the shadows in post processing. HDR, blending exposures, etc. are processing methods to help overcome contrast problems, but they require extra skills and time in Photoshop. Your lab(s) may not be helping either, if they are increasing contrast.
Changing aperture/shutter speed will not help as they will only affect overall exposure, not contrast. Make sure your camera contrast is set to normal or even low. Very contrasty situations may result in either the shadows being completely blocked and/or the highlights blown out even with a "correct" exposure. Shooting in RAW may help when you go to edit, too.
#2. "RE: Dark images with D3100" In response to Reply # 0
No where near enough info to be able to help you. We need to see samples. But you have to know if you're just 'fooling' around with aperture settings to get better results you have a lot to learn, with the camera and with editing software.
If you have PhotoShop, locate the 'Curves' and 'Highlights & Shadows' Image adjustment for starters.
#3. "RE: Dark images with D3100" In response to Reply # 0
Welcome to the Nikonians, Bob!
Shadows are not our friends and tend to show up darker than they seem when we are looking at the scene. As you gain experience you will learn which shadows will downgrade your photos. Many times I will just not take a shot and come back when the lighting has changed. If it is a take it or miss it, sometimes you can lighten them enough in post processing.
Jerry Jaynes Great Smoky Mountains of North Carolina