Monthly Archives: January 2013

Why QP Cards?

I started my photography career with analogue and the guys who I assisted and from whom I learnt; Gered Mankowitz, Dave Sherwin, Red Saunders, Gil Galvin and others, taught me the importance of accurately exposing film in camera.

Most images were being made on E6 stock; Kodak Ektachrome 64 and later Fuji 50D then Provia 100, the latitude for error was only about 2/3rd of a stop and over-exposure was not a possibility. Therefore it was fundamental to my practice to learn to correctly use the exposure meter, proof using Polaroid (later Fuji Instant) then relate that exposure to the film. It was common that films varied in colour caste and speed rating so each film batch would vary and needed to be compensated for in camera.

I still have a box of Polaroids in the attic of me posing in all sorts of sets and locations with the exposure and lighting diagram scribbled on the reverse.

When I switched to digital I began using QP Cards as a way of gauging and refining exposure. I felt the need to continue with a rigorous method of determining accurate exposure yet rather than examine Polaroids I now find myself judging the QP Card. I do this on the camera screen, in conjunction with the histogram and on a computer monitor when shooting tethered.

Screen Shot 2013-01-29 at 07.19.07

Shoot with test frame selected

With the eyedropper tool selected I neutralise White Balance by clicking on the grey square of the QP Cards.

Screen Shot 2013-01-29 at 07.31.50

Eye dropper tool selected

Then make any additional minor adjustments via the Tool Tabs for Exposure, Black & White conversion, etc.

Screen Shot 2013-01-29 at 07.36.58

Tool Tabs bar for additional adjustments

Prior to copying the adjustments.

Screen Shot 2013-01-29 at 08.01.59

Copy adjustments

Selecting all the relevant files & applying the saved adjustments to the entire batch.

Screen Shot 2013-01-29 at 07.51.15

Apply adjustments

The beauty of this is the way that it simplifies and speeds up my workflow.

I use Capture One Pro 7 for my image management but Adobe Lightroom is just as suitable.

Remember that QP Cards are not fool proof, nothing is, but then neither is a histogram, a flashmeter or even a Polaroid. You need to combine all of these elements together plus your own innate experience of your camera or film and different lighting situations.

PC_Shot01_0032

Entrance to disused Cruise Missile Bunker, East Anglia
© Julian Hawkins 2013

Details: Nikon D600, 17 – 35mm, ISO 200, 1/2sec , f10

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Filed under Exposure, Lighting, Tech Tips