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Photographing people in the snow with fill-flash

Chris Platt

Newburg, US
481 posts

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"RE: Photographing people in the snow with fill-flash"

Chris Platt Silver Member Nikonian since 30th Sep 2012
Sat 15-Dec-12 02:12 PM | edited Sat 15-Dec-12 02:27 PM by Chris Platt

All Russ said, however, I exercise caution in adding positive EV when photographing snow scenes with full matrix metering. I suspect that Nikon's scene recognition system is capable of recognizing a snow scene and attempts to compensate automatically. My experience has been that snow scenes are exposed pretty well without positive compensation when using matrix and that I usually only have to punch it up by about 1/3 EV in post to brighten it up. The matrix metering system tries to preserve highlight detail and not blow the scene out, which, I suspect, is why I still find I have to add about 1/3 EV.

Here is an example: white dog, white snow, so add some EV right? Not here. I added +1EV and it was the wrong answer: (apologies - no flash was used)

Click on image to view larger version


Ok, white dog, white snow, no positive EV added:

Click on image to view larger version


Lets punch it up with 1/3 EV in post: (note that I'm already loosing highlight detail in the snow)

Click on image to view larger version


If you don't add enough EV at capture, you can certainly add it in post. However, if you add too much EV at capture, you won't be able to recover blown highlights in post.

If you're shooting manual or using spot metering, by all means add some EV at capture.

The good news is if you use TTL BL the flash is going to deliver a pretty good answer to the foreground either way.

Just my opinion - I haven't done a controlled test yet. I'm waiting for a snow storm, but considering the weather in my region lately, I may be wading around it what used to be the Greenland ice cap before I see another decent snow storm.

I recommend experimenting with both approaches and seeing what works best for you.

Visit my gallery.

A general, generic topic Photographing people in the snow with fill-flash [View all] , Kropotkin , Fri 14-Dec-12 09:16 PM
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