I'm new to photography and I recently purchased a t7i w/ 18-135mm lens. On my most recent trip, most of the pictures were too bright or faces were dark. A lot of the time, the sun was behind the subject or two the side because of being on the coast. Most of my shots were taken in Landscape Mode or AV. However, the pics came out poorly. What is the reasoning? Also, are there any good tutorials you recommend so I can learn how to properly use the camera? Here are couple examples:
I will give you credit for acknowledging you are not familiar with the camera, instead of blaming the camera for poor images. Canon has an online"Canon Digital Learning Center."
The following series of 13 videos is very helpful. They are titled "EOS 101"
The most important concepts to learn are "exposure triangle" and "depth of field". There is a lot to learn in the CDLC. There is an entire set of terms that you need to learn about that would be helpful to understand before someone tried to explain your photos.
Basically, you have discovered the most crucial component of photography. It is all about the light:how much and from what direction.
I'm new to photography and I recently purchased a t7i w/ 18-135mm lens. On my most recent trip, most of the pictures were too bright or faces were dark. A lot of the time, the sun was behind the subject or two the side because of being on the coast. Most of my shots were taken in Landscape Mode or AV. However, the pics came out poorly. What is the reasoning? Also, are there any good tutorials you recommend so I can learn how to properly use the camera?
The fact that you have noticed the problems is the first steps towards improving the pictures that propel one beyond the realm of casual photography...
As demonstrated herein by several posters, you can for a large part correct for pictures in post (post processing) but it is much better to get it right as much as possible in camera. Your job would be that much easier in post processing...
For years I relied heavily on post processing and had developed quite a lazy attitude towards taking pictures...For the last few years I've decided to try to do it correctly in camera...I think my photography has improved because of that.
The key thing to remember is that no matter how good a camera is, its metering system still can be fooled by challenging lighting conditions...You have successfully demonstrated it with a couple of pictures...In the picture with the white rocks and dark trees...you are in a tough spot...you can usually properly expose for either the white rocks or the dark trees but not both. In situation like that, you will have to rely on post processing...I'd go even further and bracket my shots (look up AEB)...normally I'd take 3 shots (one average, one exposed for the rocks and one for the trees) and blend them in post.
For the other scenario where you stand in front of a very bright background...the camera takes an average light reading and decides to adjust the picture to darker to properly expose the bright background. In doing so, it makes the subject face overly dark. Likewise if you're standing in front of the white rocks, the camera will make the faces look darker too. On the reverse side, if you're standing in front of a dark background, the camera will adjust the picture to be brighter to properly expose the dark background, making your subject and faces overly bright.
This is so common, all cameras provide something called Exposure Compensation. You should read up on it and find out how to use the Exposure Compensation very well. Something really easy for you to remember...Dark Background, Adjust Darker (Dark, Dark) and Bright background, Adjust Brighter (Bright, Bright). In Canon control, to adjust Dark dial to the left, to adjust bright, dial to the right...Right Bright.
Try fill flash. Flash is great for daylight use on a backlit subject.
Putting the sun behind the subject keeps it out of his face so he won't squint. Only problem is the camera meters for the background, and his face is in shadow do it is too dark, like in your photo.
All the exposure compensation solutions will just fix the underexposure on the subject by overexposing the background, blowing it out.
Your onboard flash will work work but you'd have to be within like 12- 15 feet of the subject. If you buy a speedlites flash with more power you get a longer range.
"fill flash" is a great idea when shooting photos with people in outdoor sun. The sun creates very bright highlights -- causing the shadows to appear even darker. The flash helps by providing some light in the dark areas. Usually you still want shadows to look like shadows... you just don't want them to be extremely dark.
If you shoot in full auto mode then you have no control over the flash. But you can use "Program" mode (the "P" on the mode dial) which uses the same algorithm to choose the exposure EXCEPT that it allows you to override many settings. If you pop-up your flash in Program mode then the camera will use it (conversely if you keep it down then the camera wont use it -- it wont automatically pop up like it can in full auto mode).
Just keep in mind that the built-in pop-up flash isn't particularly powerful ... subjects should generally be within about 10' or so. For subjects a bit farther away, it's helpful to have an external (Canon shoe-mounted flash).
As for RAW...
JPEG is a universal format. Everything that can view images can view JPEG format files. But there are a couple of downsides to JPEG.
One is that it is designed to heavily compress the images to save space and make them easy for sharing and viewing across the internet. Unfortunately this compression system means it will take pixels which are technically different... but similar enough that your eye probably wouldn't notice the difference... and it changes them to have the same values. This makes the compression algorithm more efficient because it's easier to compress files when you don't have as many unique pixels. Unfortunately once this change is made, the original data is lost forever. If you try to brighten up shadows or tone down the highlights in an attempt to recover details that you are struggling to see... you will find much of the detail may be lost.
The other downside is that JPEG images are only 8-bit color-depth. The camera's sensor actually has 14-bit color depth (and a RAW file accurately represents the full 14-bit color depth). This means you cannot represent as much tonal quality in the JPEG image. It also means that you'll reach the limits of adjustment in a JPEG image much sooner than you would in a RAW image.
JPEG is a great "final ouput" format (when you've finished tweaking your images, don't need to make further changes, and are ready to print or share them images... then save them as JPEG.) But for images that you may want to adjust... always choose RAW.
The downside of RAW is that each camera technically has a unique RAW format (based on camera model) and there are so many camera models w it's difficult for software developers to support every camera. Alas... that means many photo editing programs wont know how to open your RAW files.
Canon's own software can, of course, deal with all their RAW files. Adobe Lightroom is easy to use and is extremely well supported and also knows how to deal with all the RAW file formats (as long as you keep up with the software updates.) Apple builds the RAW support into their operating system and that means all Apple software (where Apple Inc is the developer... 3rd party programs that run on Macs do not necessarily have the same support) know how to deal with RAW files (very new cameras usually don't get RAW support until the developers have time to provide an update... usually a few months).
Minimally you'll want to learn how to make exposure adjustments using whatever favorite photo app you prefer to use. This means adjusting the overall exposure, as well as adjusting just the shadows or highlights. There are more advanced methods to adjust this such as using a "levels" adjustment or "curves" adjustment (they offer finer control than the basic adjustments). You'll also probably want to learn to tweak "white balance" (this helps neutralize any color cast created by lighting that wasn't technically 'white').