Photography is one of the most important arts known since the previous century. Experts would define it as the art of capturing or recording light. It doesn’t get any plainer than that. When you press the “shoot” button and the light flashes, you just captured a moment—in that case, the light of that moment. However, capturing light on film or digital memory is not as easy as you might have thought. Photography is like an exact art that minor changes can have a profound effect on the outcome. One of the most common mistakes is shooting pictures with low amounts of light exposure, which causes less than impressive results.
Not-so-seasoned artists would lay the blame for dark photos on improper lighting and come up with a notion that adding a flash would fix the issue. But that seems a simple solution to a less than understood problem. Of course, the inclusion of the “flash” element would seem to be the forthright answer, yet it’s an understanding in the circles of professional photographers that enhancing the amount of light is not the universal solution. There are a lot of people who have spent a long time in the photography business who can tell you that there is more to dark images than issues regarding the film and flash.
What Makes Photos Appear Dark
Improper shutter speed-aperture fix – The shutter speed and aperture setting depend on the amount of ambient light. High shutter speed setting can reduce the amount of light exposure per film. Hence, even if you want to use high speed settings for a football tournament at night, the limited environmental light may keep you from doing so. At the same time, aperture affects the amount of light that can be captured—the smaller the aperture the less light captured. There is a shutter speed and aperture setting combination for a specific type of environment and for a specific purpose. To avoid coming up with unimpressively dark images, take good notice of what the camera’s light meter tells you.
Incorrect light meter – Sometimes even the appropriate shutter speed or aperture settings can result to dark images. It is possible that an inaccurate light meter is the problem. Since this problem can be easily detected by photo labs, it’s best if you get your camera checked for such problem, which is usually apparent with digital cameras. Film cameras evade such problem since the image can then be adjusted during developing the film. With digital cameras, you see the problem right after the flash.
Poor film quality or damaged film – Don’t think that films are out of fashion these days because they are still used extensively. If you are using poor quality or old films, chances are they would produce less impressive, dark photos because of their inability to effectively capture light. Old films may produce other problems as well. Film quality may be affected by temperature and exposure to radiation and moisture.
Here are some additional articles on photo lighting.
Photo lab/photo editing errors – In some instances, the dimness of the image is never a fault of your camera or the photographic equipment but the photo lab processing’s. Yes, it is quite probable that for the photos to be damaged during development of photos from negatives, in case of photos taken using a film camera. Common errors include light contamination upon film developing, inappropriate film brand settings, use of old or contaminated chemicals, improper time processing duration, and unsuitable film developing process. Try another photo lab if you’re guessing it’s the photo processing’s fault. If the photos are still dark, then you most probably have an issue with your camera, and you better have it checked.
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