Secrets of Whiteboard Photography

Online Portfolios for photographers">Never rewrite anything you can digitize. If..

Secrets of Whiteboard Photography

Online Portfolios for photographers”>Never rewrite anything you can digitize. If you’ve ever been tasked with copying a full whiteboard after an intense brainstorming session, you know what I mean.

You’ve just finished participating in one of the most amazing brainstorming sessions of your career. The massive whiteboard, which covers an entire wall of the conference room, is covered with words, arrows, and diagrams. You’re about to rush from the room to begin putting these plans into action when your boss says to you, “Robertson! Would you please copy down these notes and circulate them to everyone who attended the meeting?”

Copy those notes?! Not even Leonardo Da Vinci could reproduce those drawings. Suddenly, an air of calm comes over you as you recall “Secrets of Whiteboard Photography” from Digital Photography Hacks. You pull your digital camera out from your backpack and go to work. Why rewrite something that’s already been written, when you can photograph it, save it as a .jpg file, and circulate it to anyone with a browser on their computer?

This hack will make more sense to you if you first understand how a camera sees the world. Most cameras are calibrated for capturing blue skies, green grass, and other middle tones. And, more often than not, your camera will try to convert anything on the extreme end of the exposure scale to those same middle tones. So the black cat becomes gray and the whiteboard becomes a murky beige color. So, job number one is to find your exposure compensation adjustment and set it to +1. That will tell your camera to overexpose the subject and make the whiteboard white, not gray. Then, turn up the room lights, open the shades, and turn off your camera’s built-in flash. Those little strobes might be fine for blinding your best friend at her birthday party, but they’re not so good for shooting whiteboards? unless, that is, you don’t care about reading the writing. Flashes tend to nuke white shiny surfaces.