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RAW image files appear dark - EOS 250D

albionshire
Contributor
I posted this before but for some reason it got marked as spam so reposting. So after two weeks of pain and agony, I got my photos to appear exactly how I'd like. I'd noticed the RAW file preview appeared dark in Windows File Explorer however upon opening in the windows app after a few seconds the RAW image would appear exactly how I'd like! I've discovered this is Windows displaying the built-in jpg. All I needed to do now was make the image a bit brighter so I proceeded to open Digital Photo Professional 4 and I found that the RAW files appear just like the Windows preview, very dark not like how Windows photo app displays it. How can I get the RAW files in digital photo professional 4 to appear how windows photo app interpret the RAW image - that image is almost perfect but just needs the exposure adjusting. I have tried everything in digital photo professional using various settings to get it to match with the way Windows displays the raw file but I just can't get it close enough.

What am I doing wrong? Should I go back to the drawing board and retake the images so they aren't under-exposed in the first place? I've tried this but it seems to get it exactly how Windows is displaying the raw image I have to use a lower shutter speed which is affecting the overall quality of the image. I have read I maybe need to play around with the ISO settings.

I've attached an example of how the Windows Photo app renders the raw file, it's perfect but notice it just appears a tad bit dark, could do with being a bit brighter, I've got my monitor brightness set at half and when I compare it to other images of fabrics they are considerably brighter (do you think the image is OK?, am I over thinking the brightness, I'm a complete amateur but I'm quite proud of the shot!). I suppose if the image brightness is OK I could just save the jpg from the Windows Photo app which I have done btw and it works a treat!

albionshire_0-1707091395855.png

Then we have the RAW File (Using Manual Mode with F10 1/30 ISO 100) as seen in Canon's Digital Photo Professional 4 - I have tweaked all the settings but I just cannot get it like the way the windows photo app renders it:

albionshire_1-1707091468014.png

Am I using the wrong lens? My Camera is Canon EOS 250D + Canon EF-s 18-55mm f/4-5.6 IS STM Lens

I want to get this right as I have over 100 images to shoot. I'd rather redo the first few photos than use the current method and get it wrong for all of them.

Any advice would be much appreciated! If you think I should go back to the drawing board what advice would you give for photographing fabrics? I want to show as much detail as possible with the images looking professional and crisp. I'm using a softbox 5600K light as well. Can you please give me some advice as to what shutter speed, aperture setting and ISO setting I should be using?

11 REPLIES 11

wq9nsc
Authority
Authority

You are underexposing at time of capture thus the dark raw image which is an accurate representation of what the camera "saw" during exposure.  Your camera viewfinder information should show that it is underexposed when you were composing and focusing on the scene.

You need more light, or a higher ISO, or a wider aperture (if you can do that while keeping enough depth of field), or a combination of these three.  Even with a tripod, if you drop shutter speed much more you will likely run into camera shake issues unless you use timer or a remote release along with mirror lockup.

Another good option for this would be to use flash but will require proper setup to avoid undesired shadows or "blowing out" part of your image with excess light.

Rodger

EOS 1DX M3, 1DX M2, 1DX, 5DS R, M6 Mark II, 1D M2, EOS 650 (film), many lenses, XF400 video

rs-eos
Elite

Do the photos also appear dark when previewed in your camera? What does their histogram look like? Just wondering if it’s your software causing issues?

Though do suspect it’s as Roger mentioned that they are underexposed. Unless there is lots of light in the scene, f/10 at ISO 100, even when using 1/30 second, will go dark.

--
Ricky

Camera: EOS 5D IV, EF 50mm f/1.2L, EF 135mm f/2L
Lighting: Profoto Lights & Modifiers

albionshire
Contributor

Hi Roger,

Amazing! Thank you. What's better more light and a lower ISO or just go for a higher ISO? I have been thinking about a flash, would you say most fashion photographs of clothes are taken with a flash or could I achieve a similar "professional" look without a flash?

If you want the most control and consistency, flash will be very useful. Though it can get expensive as you may find you need multiple.

If taking the images outdoors or near a window letting in lots of light, you could just get away with that or perhaps just needing to add some diffusion and/or a bounce card or reflector.

How often do you need such photos? If seldom, then using available light and waiting for the best conditions would be ample. But if you need to take photos quite often, flash can pay dividends over time.

--
Ricky

Camera: EOS 5D IV, EF 50mm f/1.2L, EF 135mm f/2L
Lighting: Profoto Lights & Modifiers

You could go a little higher on ISO with your current setup but as you increase ISO the camera and post-processing must deal with the increased "noise" from higher ISO and this results in some loss of detail and color depth.  Try ISO 200 and 400 compared to 100 and see if the results are acceptable.  Also see if opening your lens further (lower f number) still provides critical focus from the closest to the further point of your subject.

Flash can work VERY well for the type of work you are doing BUT flash/artificial lighting done well is an in depth area of photography.  Because you are doing fashion photography, accurate color rendition is critical so you will want all the light to be from a source with the same color temperature.  So this won't be a case where you are using fill flash to bring up some of the shadows but instead want the entire subject to be properly illuminated.

Using an on camera flash is the most simple option but it probably won't provide the combination of coverage and desirable indirect lighting needed so at the very least you will have to use a flash not mounted to your camera.

The popularity of video has created a large selection of high output but fairly low cost continuous LED lighting which is easier to work with than flash when setting up multiple scenes because you are constantly seeing the coverage and shadow pattern that the camera will see.  So take a good look at the cost of those as an option. 

I have a very nice set of Hensel Expert D series studio strobes that can do amazing things and provide incredible light output.  But I have found myself often using a set of LED lights I bought for video in place of the Hensel setup when I don't need the output and versatile light shapers I have for them.  It can easily take over an hour to set up a group of studio strobes while if I just need decent lighting for a simple subject I can be capturing images with the constant output LED lights in a few minutes.

Rodger

EOS 1DX M3, 1DX M2, 1DX, 5DS R, M6 Mark II, 1D M2, EOS 650 (film), many lenses, XF400 video

jrhoffman75
Legend
Legend

In all modes other than Manual the camera will select settings to get the best exposure possible. Depending on the shooting conditions (generally not enough light) even the camera won't get a good exposure. When you chose to shoot in Manual mode you are taking all control away from the camera. It becomes the shooters responsibility to select the appropriate settings and use the camera's exposure meter to determine the correct settings.

You have the exposure scale in your viewfinder.

Screenshot 2024-02-05 074921.jpg

You need to line (2) up to (1).

Your monitor display brightness and the camera rear LCD brightness cannot be used to determine proper exposure. You need to view the histogram.

Screenshot 2024-02-05 075222.jpg

Since you are shooting RAW and using DPP4 you can have the software adjust your image:

Screenshot 2024-02-05 075222.jpg

John Hoffman
Conway, NH

1D X Mark III, M200, Many lenses, Pixma PRO-100, Pixma TR8620a, Lr Classic

albionshire
Contributor

Wow! Firstly can I say how overwhelmed I am! (In a good way of course!) I'm so glad I purchased a Canon camera. The support and the community are just phenomenal! I just want to say thank you so much to all of you for the advice and tips, I am totally new at this and so incredibly grateful for your support.

@rs-eos sorry I didn't get chance to reply to you last night on my other post and thank you for welcoming me. For some odd reason that post got marked as spam.

So to give you some background. I am selling scarves and women's clothing online. I only intend to take photos indoor. The most important thing for me is accurate colour representation, I have been at this for hours on end and days on end and it's really made me appreciate how much work goes into taking photographs!

I also need lots of detail of the fabric to be shown. I will be taking the photos on a semi-regular basis as new product lines come in I will take photos.

I currently have a COB light which is advertised at having a maximum brightness of 6500K, it also has a booster button. I have also purchased a softbox for the light itself.

@rs-eos here is how the images appear on the view finder:

thumbnail_IMG_4121.jpg

1) Are there any links you can provide to a good flash I can purchase? When you say flash I'm assuming you mean the one that clips on to the camera? How would multiple ones work?

2) Is it not possible for me to avoid the purchase of the flash light and instead use the COB I have? It has a rating of 6500K

3) @wq9nsc Amazing tips! I will give them a try. You're spot on color accuracy is really important. I don't intend to make videos just photos. Just seen those Hensel Expert D series studio strobes, they look very similar to what I have, it's a NEEWER CB200B 210W LED Video Light. Is that not the same as the strobes you have? Do you think I could do with two of them? So they are placed on either side of the subject? Is that usually the convention for taking professional looking photos? I was hoping I could just get away with one!

4) @jrhoffman75  many thanks for the post and screenshots, they are very helpful and I really appreciated what you said about using the histogram to determine the correct exposure. Sorry for the silly question? But how do I know what the correct exposure is? Is there a baseline for a good  / professional looking photo? Sorry I know that can be very subjective.

I'm really sorry for all the questions. I am due to launch my business in a few weeks and need to get all the pictures taken ASAP. Any help / tips advice, suggestions to any additional kit I need would be really appreciated. Main thing for me right now is to get the colour accurate. I've not got a huge budget but I am prepared to invest with the hope I'll be able to get a return on my investment as my business grows.

"4) @jrhoffman75  many thanks for the post and screenshots, they are very helpful and I really appreciated what you said about using the histogram to determine the correct exposure. Sorry for the silly question? But how do I know what the correct exposure is? Is there a baseline for a good  / professional looking photo? Sorry I know that can be very subjective."

The histogram is a plot of brightness (totally black on the left and pure white on the right) and the amount of information at each level on the vertical scale.

Your scarf is a narrow range of colors as shown by the narrow range of the histogram. It looks like a skyscraper building.

With that shape histogram I would recommend that you adjust exposure so that the histogram is in the middle window of the display. Take a photo and then see how it looks. Minor adjustments to exposure up and down as necessary to tweak the resulting image.

John Hoffman
Conway, NH

1D X Mark III, M200, Many lenses, Pixma PRO-100, Pixma TR8620a, Lr Classic

Amazing John, great explanation re the histogram, I get it now! I will give your suggestions a go and report back!

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