This is the second post in tackling the 13 most common problems in food photography. In this post, we talk about the problem of underexposed photos. We will define what is underexposure, how to identify them, why they occur and how to solve the problem before taking the photograph.
Underexposed Food Photos
Often in some photos, some areas are little too dark than the rest of the photo. This darkness usually covers certain features of the subject and this makes the photo unappealing.
To identify whether a photo is underexposed read the photo to find the subject. Once you know the subject, see if all the features are clearly identifiable. For example, if a pasta bowl is too dark, it may be that the photo is underexposed.
How is a Photo Underexposed
We talked about the reason for overexposed photograph, the opposite happens if a photo is underexposed. In this case, not enough light reaches the sensor or film. Technically, this translates to either too small aperture (meaning too large f-stop number) or too fast shutter speed.
Another reason why a photograph may be underexposed relates to colors you are trying to shoot. If the subject is too light or the background is too light, your camera may falsely read this as too much light. This means that, camera adjusts for this too-much-light information and specially if you are on auto-mode, miscalculates the required f-stop or shutter speed.
Eliminate the Problem Before Taking a Photo
The first step to eliminating this problem is to understand the basics of how photography works. Understanding the three pillars of photography – Aperture, Shutter Speed and ISO – is critical to improving photography.
Once you understand the basics, you need a lot of practice and only then you will be able to decide what settings will be perfect for a particular lighting condition. I have found taking lot of photos and analyzing them immediately very helpful. With digital cameras, this is very easy. Film cameras presented a unique challenge for aspiring photographers. In those days, I noted every small settings and lighting condition and then wait for photos to be sent to the lab and then lab to take the prints. Often in all of this, either the settings were forgotten or the actual lighting conditions were misrepresented. I love my DSLR for that.
Underexposure can only be eliminated if you have stronghold on the basics. So, to reiterate what I just said moments ago – understand the basics of photography.
See the photo below.
In my opinion, the apples in this photograph are a little underexposed. Specially if you see the two apples at the top, there is a dark area between them. I believe, this underexposed area could be because of lack of light where this was placed. And since the light was too low, even aperture of f/5.6 with shutter speed of 1/40 wasn’t enough for this photo.
Too Dark ╪ Underexposure
There are creative ways for using underexposure and not all dark objects should be considered underexposed. Look at the photo below.
Tell us about your adventures in battling underexposure photos. Add a before and after photo if you have one in the comments below. Or may be just tell us how you corrected underexposed photos.
Photo Credit – Kiwi by ecstaticist