Photographing an Auto Show

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by arogge, Feb 12, 2011.

  1. arogge macrumors 65816


    Feb 15, 2002
    Here's a summary of a question that I attracted this month:

    "I want to take good photos in here at this Washington, D.C. indoor auto show. What setting on this Canon mode dial can I use to do that?"

    In less than two minutes, what would your response be? Other than suggesting switching to the Manual mode and rapidly learning how to work with the very-variable lighting conditions, I didn't know what else to suggest. The problem was that the camera could not understand what to meter off of, so most of the photos were coming out underexposed because of the bright surfaces of the cars. Any dark cars were causing the camera to overexpose. What would other people do in this lighting situation? It was a real workout, because the overall brightness and car colors changed so often.
  2. Cliff3 macrumors 68000


    Nov 2, 2007
    SF Bay Area
    My default mode for static subjects is aperture-priority. I would bring a gray card and shoot a reference shot to establish white balance. My camera (Nikon D700) is pretty happy at ISO 3200 so I'd shoot a couple of test shots to make sure that ISO setting would give me some flexibility with shutter speeds and aperture choices. The lower the ISO the better, so I would make necessary adjustments based on what I see from the test shots. I tend to avoid matrix metering in favor of center weighted. I just like the results I get better.

    As far as dark shades going light and light shades going dark, that's normal behavior for camera meters. They see the world as a shade of 18% gray. Use exposure compensation to adjust as necessary. Overexpose light colors and underexpose dark colors.
  3. compuwar macrumors 601


    Oct 5, 2006
    Northern/Central VA
    Chimp the histogram and use exposure compensation to move it to the best position for each shot.

  4. avro707 macrumors 6502a

    Dec 13, 2010
    For those situations, AV mode (or Aperture Priority in Nikon talk) at something like F/8.0 or F/9.0.

    Use RAW for the images - rather than JPEG. Manual white-balance too - because there are so many artificial light sources that might introduce artificial colours. Use a grey-card to sample from - if you have one, or find a neutral coloured substitute and measure WB from that. With RAW, you can easily tweak WB later - and using Photoshop Camera Raw, your adjustments can be applied quickly to all images.

    Matrix-metering might help to avoid the bright car, dark background look - but exposure compensation should always be adjusted (using the histogram and highlights display to judge how to tweak exposure compensation).

    You've got time to spare, the cars aren't going anywhere. :) Crank the ISO too so you get a shutter speed fast enough to combat motion blur of cars on turning stands.

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