Getting–the–photo–right–before–taking–the–shot requires photographers to set the camera up correctly. This reduces the amount of post processing requiring to be carried out.
Camera with lens, Tripod (if needed), remote camera trigger (if needed), flash (if needed to lift the shadows), light meter, grey card and colour checker.
The camera, tripod, trigger and flash speak for themselves. You need these to take the photo. What about the other items, do you need them?
In my opinion yes you do.
Grey card and Colour checker.
I use an Xrite Colour Checker Passport. This comes with a grey card and colour chart. This allows me to set a reference for white balance and colour within my photos. This comes in a hard plastic wallet and the use is very easy.
This allows you to set the correct custom white balance for the light conditions you are working under. Before doing anything get this right first and the rest falls into place. It’s easy to do but check your cameras instruction manual to find out the correct method for your camera.
For a canon, take a photo of the grey card. Open the wallet and take a photo of the grey card filling at the least the focusing circle. Go into the menu to find custom white balance. Bring the photo of the card up and accept it, remember to set the camera to the custom white balance symbol. Now the camera is at the correct white balance for the lighting conditions.
Change to the colour checker chart and take a photo of this. The rest of the work is carried out in Lightroom or Photoshop.
Your camera is now set to take photos almost.
Recent advances in these mean that the photographer now has a reliable method of ensuring correct exposure of their photos. I know the camera is digital and contains its own light meter. For someone who doesn’t worry too much about the end result then the camera should be good enough.
For the professional where quality is key, the light meter is an essential piece of kit. I use the Sekonic L478dr. http://www.sekonic.com/united-kingdom/products/l-478dr/overview.aspx
The meter measures incident and reflected light (accessory required). It works with ambient light (existing/natural light), studio lights, pocket wizard controlled lights and has cine functions as well.
The setting up procedure is easy to follow and you calibrate your camera by using Sekonics DTS (DATA TRANSFER SOFTWARE) software.
This meter is more accurate than the cameras inbuilt meter. It will give you more accurate reading for setting your ISO, Aperture and Shutter speed. Where you have calibrated your camera with the DTS by imputing the meter readings you achieve a better exposure.
Having set up the camera for the light conditions you should now have less work to do when post processing. You are now getting the photo right before taking the shot.
Give it a try and lets see some of your images.