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Thread: Camera Settings for Bright Lit Background

  1. #1

    Default Camera Settings for Bright Lit Background

    Hi,
    Can someone share how to control the exposure setting (ISO, Aperture, with or w/o flash etc) when taking a picture with a bright background e.g: Outdoor afternoon. The subject usually turn out very dark.

    Thanks!
    Canon EOS 40D|Tamron 18-270mm|Canon 10-22mm|
    Canon 50mm/1.4|Speedlite 580 EX II|BG-E2N

  2. #2

    Smile Re: Camera Settings for Bright Lit Background

    meter bright b/g. set exposure accordingly. set yr flash accordingly to the metered exposure. ensure subject is within distance of flash. bravo! b/g well exposed. subject exposed by flash according to abovementioned exposure setting.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Camera Settings for Bright Lit Background

    Quote Originally Posted by reachme2003 View Post
    meter bright b/g. set exposure accordingly. set yr flash accordingly to the metered exposure. ensure subject is within distance of flash. bravo! b/g well exposed. subject exposed by flash according to abovementioned exposure setting.
    Thanks for your advice. Can you please elaborate how to 'meter bright b/g'? Do I press the AE button?
    Canon EOS 40D|Tamron 18-270mm|Canon 10-22mm|
    Canon 50mm/1.4|Speedlite 580 EX II|BG-E2N

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Camera Settings for Bright Lit Background

    Do you want to rectify the situation of a back-lit subject, or do you want to create a silhouette?

  5. #5
    Senior Member zac08's Avatar
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    Default Re: Camera Settings for Bright Lit Background

    Quote Originally Posted by lawalf View Post
    Hi,
    Can someone share how to control the exposure setting (ISO, Aperture, with or w/o flash etc) when taking a picture with a bright background e.g: Outdoor afternoon. The subject usually turn out very dark.

    Thanks!
    Expose for the BG and use fill-in flash for subject.

    If you can't use or do not want to use the flash. Change the angle such that the light is on the side or behind you when you face the subject.
    Michael Lim
    My Flickr Site

  6. #6

    Default Re: Camera Settings for Bright Lit Background

    I can think of 4 methods, not sure if any more. Please let me know if there are other ways.

    1) Point to darkest foreground, then set the autoexposure lock. Then focus on subject and take photo. This method is not very useful if the darkest foreground is only a small area

    2) Like zac08 said, use fill-in flash - meaning manually activate the flash so that the flash will fire even if the background is bright. Make sure the subject is within the range of the flash

    3) Use exposure compensation button. If the background very bright, auto will make the photo darker, hence the subject will be dark. So increase the exposure compensation by 1 or 2 stop, so that the subject will be brighter. However, the background will be overexposed. Easier way is to use autoexposure bracketing where the camera will take 3 photos - 1 normal, 1 underexpose by 1 stop and 1 overexpose by 1 stop. Then choose the best

    4) If all else fails, then use post processing as salvage procedure.


    Which method is better, I don't know. maybe someone can help.
    Idea got, execution not!
    APAD|Travelogue

  7. #7
    Senior Member zac08's Avatar
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    Default Re: Camera Settings for Bright Lit Background

    Here's an example of what I meant.



    Forgive the slight difference in the BG.

    On the left, I had forgotten to turn on the flash and as expected, the BG was correctly exposed but the subject is left very under-exposed.

    In the middle, I had turned on the flash but have not dialled in the sufficient amount of flash ev correction. Thus subject is over-exposed.

    On the right, the flash ev correction have been dialled down sufficiently and now it looks much more balanced.

    Michael Lim
    My Flickr Site

  8. #8

    Default Re: Camera Settings for Bright Lit Background

    Quote Originally Posted by calebk View Post
    Do you want to rectify the situation of a back-lit subject, or do you want to create a silhouette?

    Thanks. I want to rectify the situation of a back-lit subject and not to create a silhouette.
    Canon EOS 40D|Tamron 18-270mm|Canon 10-22mm|
    Canon 50mm/1.4|Speedlite 580 EX II|BG-E2N

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Camera Settings for Bright Lit Background

    Quote Originally Posted by lawalf View Post
    Thanks. I want to rectify the situation of a back-lit subject and not to create a silhouette.
    +EV and or fill-flash
    Our pictures are our footprints. Itís the best way to tell people we were here - JoeMcnally | Flickr

  10. #10

    Default Re: Camera Settings for Bright Lit Background

    I was observing a wedding photographer last time.
    He was taking a shot of a couple standing at the door way with bright sunlight shining behind.
    I tried taking a shot and only got a dark subject. But his picture was turn out great.
    He was kind enough to share that he was using spot metering, by metering the subject.
    Not sure what other setting he used, I think it was a trade secret.

    I tried the spot metering, the subject was nicely exposed this time but I got the background slight overexposure.

    Anyone care to share?

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Camera Settings for Bright Lit Background

    Fill flash.
    Our pictures are our footprints. Itís the best way to tell people we were here - JoeMcnally | Flickr

  12. #12
    Member/Tangshooter Ambious's Avatar
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    Default Re: Camera Settings for Bright Lit Background

    Also, u can try HDR for a change. Merge the photos together.

  13. #13
    Senior Member zac08's Avatar
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    Default Re: Camera Settings for Bright Lit Background

    Quote Originally Posted by Ambious View Post
    Also, u can try HDR for a change. Merge the photos together.
    But if you don't expose the subject properly.. no matter how you HDR, it can't help
    Michael Lim
    My Flickr Site

  14. #14

    Default Re: Camera Settings for Bright Lit Background

    Without Flash - Spot metering/Blown Out backround.
    This would look good if you have a main focus to your picture for example a person infront of a window. I am facing the window and the person, the person has there back towards the bright window. If i spot meter to the persons face, which will be darker, the background exposure will be blown out because the spot metering, meters the face correctly.

    For flash, Meter to the back round. Fill in the subject with the flash for the background to be well exposed.

    All this can be experimented with if you know the basics.
    Play around with the gear you have and see what images you get from different angles, flash power, backgrounds, models, aperture, shutterspeed, direct flash/bounceflash.

  15. #15

    Default Re: Camera Settings for Bright Lit Background

    On Sony cams: DRO Advanced +3
    Alpha

  16. #16
    Member/Tangshooter Ambious's Avatar
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    Default Re: Camera Settings for Bright Lit Background

    Quote Originally Posted by zac08 View Post
    But if you don't expose the subject properly.. no matter how you HDR, it can't help
    I'm just giving a benefit of doubt that TS can capture the subject correctly, just that the BG is giving some problem. HDR or a well balance photo can be use with 3 or more photos with 1 overexpose, 1 right expose and 1 underexpose to combine in CS3.

    If TS can't even capture the subject correctly, then I would suggest he go to attend some courses or get some books to read even before start using 90% of the DSLR function. So, HDR or any other method also cannot solve anything.

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Camera Settings for Bright Lit Background

    You can try manual.. if you have the luxury of experimenting.. try starting with F11 or F16 for a sunny day... and 1/125 or 1/250 first... and a little flash for your subject (if you can adjust flash intensity and if you have different types of diffusers).. .. shoot and check your LCD, the blown highlights, and histogram... and then try again with different settings.. this way you get to learn by yourself what happens with different settings... its tedious but fun.. if you are into that kind of fun.

  18. #18
    Senior Member jnet6's Avatar
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    Default Re: Camera Settings for Bright Lit Background

    Quote Originally Posted by ShyanL View Post
    I was observing a wedding photographer last time.
    He was taking a shot of a couple standing at the door way with bright sunlight shining behind.
    I tried taking a shot and only got a dark subject. But his picture was turn out great.
    He was kind enough to share that he was using spot metering, by metering the subject.
    Not sure what other setting he used, I think it was a trade secret.

    I tried the spot metering, the subject was nicely exposed this time but I got the background slight overexposure.

    Anyone care to share?
    It's not trade secret, is all about understanding of light through your camera.

  19. #19

    Default Re: Camera Settings for Bright Lit Background

    Quote Originally Posted by geeteethree View Post
    Without Flash - Spot metering/Blown Out backround.
    This would look good if you have a main focus to your picture for example a person infront of a window. I am facing the window and the person, the person has there back towards the bright window. If i spot meter to the persons face, which will be darker, the background exposure will be blown out because the spot metering, meters the face correctly.

    For flash, Meter to the back round. Fill in the subject with the flash for the background to be well exposed.

    All this can be experimented with if you know the basics.
    Play around with the gear you have and see what images you get from different angles, flash power, backgrounds, models, aperture, shutterspeed, direct flash/bounceflash.
    Hi,
    To confirm the steps to take of the above:
    1. Select 'Spot Metering'.
    2. Aim the center circle on the subject or background (depending flash or not).
    3. Half press shutter to focus.
    4. Pan to the subject.
    5. Trigger.

    Cheers!!
    Canon EOS 40D|Tamron 18-270mm|Canon 10-22mm|
    Canon 50mm/1.4|Speedlite 580 EX II|BG-E2N

  20. #20

    Default Re: Camera Settings for Bright Lit Background

    yep use your centre focus point,
    there is a custom function i think with the 40D the allows spot metering to meter with any focus point. Look for that and change that to you focus point. So then you can use any focus point to meter.

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