Indoor portraits are underexposed

Discussion in 'Exposure Discussion' started by anta40, Sep 18, 2018.

  1. anta40

    anta40 Member
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    For taking outdoor portraits (under bright sun), I usually spot meter at cheek, exposes at Zone VI, which works well.
    Now the same principle applied for taking indoor shots. The only light sources are lamps on the ceiling, no window light at all.
    I wonder why the images look underexposed.

    The film is Rollei RPX 400, shot at box speed. I asked the lab to develop the film normally (no push/pull).
    Maybe I have to use different metering technique? Or pushing the film, perhaps?
     

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  2. winger

    winger Subscriber
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    What do the actual negatives look like? It's possible the lab didn't do a great job of scanning. And even good scans will need some tweaking to look their best.
     
  3. Saganich

    Saganich Subscriber
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    Looks like the highlights on the subject skin is where you wanted them, so I would say in outside full sun it’s all highlight but when your in less even illuminated places spot metering is more particular.
     
  4. glbeas

    glbeas Subscriber
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    One thing to remember is in full sun you are getting much more fill light from nearby objects and the sky. Its a bit more sketchy indoors, especially if its mercury vapor or some other discontinuous spectrum source. If you have an 18% gray card you could try metering that and see if the results are better. Another tactic is to meter the shadows and place them at the proper zone for the image to ensure shadow detail. Black and white film is usually quite forgiving of a little overexposure.
     
  5. Bill Burk

    Bill Burk Subscriber
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    Maybe your shutter is acting up. Looks like there is evidence of "capping."

    What shutter speed were you using? You may have gotten a higher shutter speed than you thought you were.

    There could also be underdevelopment. Maybe the lab didn't know your film takes longer to develop than Kodak films
     
  6. sissysphoto

    sissysphoto Member
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    You didn't specify what meter you were using. There is a very real possibility that your meter has become non-linear in its response to light levels. Can be compounded with it's sensitivity to different color temperatures, even when it was new. I suggest your meter cell(s) hve weakened. This is very common. The only reliable option is to locate a known reliable light meter and do some testing. As for the above suggestions that your shutter has lost calibration, this is much less likely. I've never known a shutter to become faster with age. I would bet my bottom dollar that you have a meter issue. Obviously until you try the items I've mentioned, assume that you have no meter and no camera. You can't work with this problem. I take pride in my troubleshooting methods and have proven myself to myself in them. It's not often that I get thrown for a loop in my diagnostics. Capping has no bearing at all in this situation, althought I do see evidence of it in photo 2. If you listen to what I've said I promise you will pin down the culprit very quickly.
     
  7. Berkeley Mike

    Berkeley Mike Member
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    It simply looks underdeveloped.
     
  8. Svenedin

    Svenedin Subscriber

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    Your first photograph is very flat, hardly any contrast between light and dark even though there clearly is such variation in the scene. There does appear to be detail in the shadows which suggest to me underdevelopment rather than underexposure. Try a different lab or develop the film yourself (this will give you far more control and after the initial outlay in equipment it's cheaper).

    Have a look at your negatives against a light. Are the edge markings clear or pale and thin? You can post a picture of your negatives by holding the film against a white piece of paper against a window and taking a picture with your smartphone (a rudimentary lightbox).
     
  9. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser
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    +1
     
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