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Thread: Shooting people with bright background

  1. #1

    Default Shooting people with bright background

    Dear all,
    I wanted to shoot a potrait with bright and beautiful background (eg sunset). I see many pictures where the potrait is bright, while not lossing the beautiful background...
    I tried to set my camera's exposure to brighter, end up the potrait is good, but the background (the sky of sunset) became white also.
    I tried to set my camera's exposure to darker, end up the potrait is too dark (cannot see the face), but the background is nice...

    Is there any way i can have nice background, with nice potrait, without doing any post editting?

    Thanks.

    regards,
    eho

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Shooting people with bright background

    meter the background and do a fill flash.

  3. #3
    Moderator ziploc's Avatar
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    Default Re: Shooting people with bright background

    Use fill flash. You'll need to adjust flash compensation so that it doesn't look so obvious that it is filled.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Shooting people with bright background

    ah.... thanks for advice... actually i am new in DSLR photography....
    Mind to tell me more about what is fill flash, and what is flash compensation? how do i set it?
    I am using canon 500D...

    Thanks...

    regards,
    eho

  5. #5

    Default Re: Shooting people with bright background

    does this apply tpo night shots.

    for example, the bckgrd are nice bright neon lights and i wanna take shots of my frens

    tried this last nite, fill flash and all, shots came out bad. tried to play ard with the flash compensation too

  6. #6
    Senior Member ZerocoolAstra's Avatar
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    Default Re: Shooting people with bright background

    Quote Originally Posted by redname View Post
    does this apply tpo night shots.

    for example, the bckgrd are nice bright neon lights and i wanna take shots of my frens

    tried this last nite, fill flash and all, shots came out bad. tried to play ard with the flash compensation too
    For night portraits, I think using the flash in 'slow' or 'rear' would work. Then the camera would meter for the dark areas.
    But then dark means long exposure. So you gotta have the camera steady, and also the subjects steady for a brief moment.
    Exploring! :)

  7. #7
    Senior Member ZerocoolAstra's Avatar
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    Default Re: Shooting people with bright background

    Quote Originally Posted by ehotzc View Post
    ah.... thanks for advice... actually i am new in DSLR photography....
    Mind to tell me more about what is fill flash, and what is flash compensation? how do i set it?
    I am using canon 500D...

    Thanks...

    regards,
    eho
    Fill flash, as the name implies, is a burst of light from the flash to fill-in the dark areas.
    When you take a photo of someone against a bright background, and the camera meters for the background, then the person's face will be dark. So you need fill flash to help balance the brightness (strange as that sounds.... flash? in the bright outdoors??).
    Exploring! :)

  8. #8

    Default Re: Shooting people with bright background

    Quote Originally Posted by ZerocoolAstra View Post
    For night portraits, I think using the flash in 'slow' or 'rear' would work. Then the camera would meter for the dark areas.
    But then dark means long exposure. So you gotta have the camera steady, and also the subjects steady for a brief moment.
    oh yah, think saw this in a video b4. hahaha, silly me, old liao, so forgetful. suppose to change the flash to slow instead

  9. #9
    Moderator ziploc's Avatar
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    Default Re: Shooting people with bright background

    Quote Originally Posted by ehotzc View Post
    ah.... thanks for advice... actually i am new in DSLR photography....
    Mind to tell me more about what is fill flash, and what is flash compensation? how do i set it?
    I am using canon 500D...

    Thanks...

    regards,
    eho
    Ah canon user. Don't know, cause I'm a Nikon user.

    Ok... here is how it is done in Nikon:
    1. Just pop up the internal flash.
    2. Shoot the pic once the flash is ready.


    That's all! The camera will automatically adjust the flash output to perform "fill in".

    Ok here is the catch:

    If you're doing fill flash in daylight, and you want to control aperture, you'll probably need a "high speed sync" flash mode. This is especially when you want to use wide aperture (low f-stop number, e.g. f/2.8). Why? Because most DSLR can only sync to 1/250s (or some nearby value, depending on your DSLR make & model). So in broad daylight, and the background is, say, 1/1000s at f/2.8, normal flash will be unable to sync, unless it has "high speed sync" mode. Almost all built in flash do not have this mode, so you'll need an external flash that has this mode.

    If on the other hand you're doing the fill at night, you're ok with internal flash, but to have a good picture with both foreground & background properly captured:

    1. You must be using "slow sync" mode (or similar modes that offers slow sync, e.g. rear curtain sync.)
    2. You camera must not be moved during the shoot (e.g. on a tripod or something similar.)
    3. Your foreground subject is holding still.


    Cheers and have fun.

  10. #10
    Deregistered shaoken's Avatar
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    Default Re: Shooting people with bright background

    If you want a correct exposure of the sunset, the person you're shooting will be underexposed.
    So a flash is needed to make both the person and the background correctly exposed.

  11. #11

    Default Re: Shooting people with bright background

    Hi everyone,
    Thanks for the advice...
    I did try using flash... and the result, the human's lighting is un-natural, eg, too bright....
    i am using EX270 flash light of canon. if i direct the flash to the human, the human will be lighted, but too un-natural, but if i direct the flash 90 degree, seems like no effect on the lighting. I am thinking is diffuser useful in this place? where can i get diffuser for 270EX?

    regards,
    eho

  12. #12
    Senior Member ZerocoolAstra's Avatar
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    Default Re: Shooting people with bright background

    On your camera, you should be able to reduce the flash intensity through the flash EV setting... am I right?
    I know my Nikon can do it!
    Exploring! :)

  13. #13
    Moderator Octarine's Avatar
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    Default Re: Shooting people with bright background

    Quote Originally Posted by ehotzc View Post
    I did try using flash... and the result, the human's lighting is un-natural, eg, too bright....
    i am using EX270 flash light of canon. if i direct the flash to the human, the human will be lighted, but too un-natural, but if i direct the flash 90 degree, seems like no effect on the lighting. I am thinking is diffuser useful in this place? where can i get diffuser for 270EX?
    Please check your manual for "Flash Exposure Compensation", it's explained there and it works for pop-up and external flash. Diffuser is a good option, the simplest diffuser is a tissue (one ply) in front of the flash. Not sure if there are some diffusers for the 270, most are for 430 and 580. But if you search here for "IKEA flash diffuser" you'll get an idea for DIY Check also for 'Softlite Diffuser' as example how it could work.
    Regarding 90 degree angle: what do you expect if you shoot the flash into a different direction than your camera points? Unless you use a reflector (search for 'flash reflector') or a bounce card there is little chance that the light will illuminate your subject.
    EOS

  14. #14

    Default Re: Shooting people with bright background

    oh yah, one more thing.

    if at nite, using slow sync flash to shoot, how to do the metering?

  15. #15

    Default Re: Shooting people with bright background

    What about asking the subject to hold a baking tray to reflect more light on the face.

  16. #16
    Moderator Octarine's Avatar
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    Default Re: Shooting people with bright background

    Quote Originally Posted by redname View Post
    if at nite, using slow sync flash to shoot, how to do the metering?
    Meter for the background, without subject. Use Matrix metering (or equivalent of your camera), do some test shots. Once you got the right settings ask your subject to step in, switch on flash and shoot.
    EOS

  17. #17

    Default Re: Shooting people with bright background

    Quote Originally Posted by spheredome View Post
    What about asking the subject to hold a baking tray to reflect more light on the face.
    huh? then like tht i gotta bring a baking tray in my camera bag and whenever i see a xmm tht i wanna take a pic of, i'll pass it to her to use

  18. #18

    Default Re: Shooting people with bright background

    Quote Originally Posted by Octarine View Post
    Meter for the background, without subject. Use Matrix metering (or equivalent of your camera), do some test shots. Once you got the right settings ask your subject to step in, switch on flash and shoot.
    oh ok, thanks for your advise.

    guess it's different from daylight where center-weighted metering is used and meter off the sky 1st

  19. #19
    Moderator Octarine's Avatar
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    Default Re: Shooting people with bright background

    Quote Originally Posted by redname View Post
    huh? then like tht i gotta bring a baking tray in my camera bag and whenever i see a xmm tht i wanna take a pic of, i'll pass it to her to use
    But that will definitely get you lots of attention and plenty of chances to get into closer contact with her. First you need to convince her holding the tray, explain the purpose, then direct her ... can print your email or hp on backside of the tray. And if you fail you will hear the noise of the dropping tray and get lots of attention from people nearby
    EOS

  20. #20

    Default Re: Shooting people with bright background

    Quote Originally Posted by Octarine View Post
    But that will definitely get you lots of attention and plenty of chances to get into closer contact with her. First you need to convince her holding the tray, explain the purpose, then direct her ... can print your email or hp on backside of the tray. And if you fail you will hear the noise of the dropping tray and get lots of attention from people nearby
    no lah, they will hear the sound of me dropping cause she'll slap me hard with the tray

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