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Thread: Question on shooting against bright background

  1. #1

    Default Question on shooting against bright background

    Hi all, new to the forums here and relatively new to photography as well. One of the difficulties i have is trying to take good quality shots against very bright background. what i always get is a dark focus subject against bright background. i would like to ask for advice here, besides testing with shutter speed and apertue settings, what else should i be looking at?



    Here's the image after decreasing shutter speed to 1.6. Looks brighter but the background seems to be over-exposed.



    Thanks all!

  2. #2

    Default Re: Question on shooting against bright background

    no choice, turn on flash....

  3. #3

    Default Re: Question on shooting against bright background

    Meter the bright background, in your case use a weighted meter on focus point. You can point the focus point at the bright background, lock in the exposure (refer to your manual), shift your focus point and half press to refocus on your subject. Do ensure your flash is on, then snap your pic. If ur flash support BL it should looks pretty ok. In any case, you can always fine adjust your flash strength. The idea in this technique is to bring your dynamics of the scene to a much narrow range where your sensor can accommodate. Until sensors becomes as good our eyes and brain, this is a limitation photographers will need to address.
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  4. #4

    Default Re: Question on shooting against bright background

    You need to use flash to illuminate the object.

  5. #5
    Senior Member cichlid's Avatar
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    Default Re: Question on shooting against bright background

    You can also try to reflect some lights onto the subject with white materials, like paper, cloth towel, etc....

  6. #6

    Default Re: Question on shooting against bright background

    I see some CSers recommended flash. That is correct, but if you meter wrongly you still get a well lit interior with a blown out areas, in this case the exterior outside the window.
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  7. #7

    Default Re: Question on shooting against bright background

    you should either change the angle of your shots if not buy an external flash to negate the strong lighting against your favour...

  8. #8
    Moderator catchlights's Avatar
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    Default Re: Question on shooting against bright background

    Quote Originally Posted by Kamensky View Post
    Hi all, new to the forums here and relatively new to photography as well. One of the difficulties i have is trying to take good quality shots against very bright background. what i always get is a dark focus subject against bright background. i would like to ask for advice here, besides testing with shutter speed and apertue settings, what else should i be looking at?



    Here's the image after decreasing shutter speed to 1.6. Looks brighter but the background seems to be over-exposed.



    Thanks all!
    you should understand that outside is much brighter then inside of your house, changing the shutter speed or aperture will not change this fact,
    adding reflector will not help much, to balance the light level of both inside and outside, you need to bring in additional light, a flash will do this job adequately.
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  9. #9

    Default Re: Question on shooting against bright background

    another solution would be hdr processing/masking several copies of the image(under diff exposures) in photoshop but more troublesome but easier to control the exposure in the picture o.o
    canon fan boy ;D

  10. #10

    Default Re: Question on shooting against bright background

    HDR is a solution, and applicable in the way you mentioned to increase the apparent dynamic range. Look here is I use apparent, which the fact it means HDR doesn't give you more range. Not only is your camera sensor a linear response over the wide range of luminosity, your display are also very much limited. Hence what HDR does is compressing the wide range of dynamic luminosity into the narrow one that can be presented by your display via algorithms such as tone mapping.

    Here TS obviously shows a lack of understanding in the basics of photography when coming to dynamic range management. It's better to advise him on how to generally resolve such issue than to just simply recommend something way above the desired approached. Remember

    - quote : occam's razor

    Quote Originally Posted by chocolateking123 View Post
    another solution would be hdr processing/masking several copies of the image(under diff exposures) in photoshop but more troublesome but easier to control the exposure in the picture o.o
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  11. #11
    Member NedKelly's Avatar
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    Default Re: Question on shooting against bright background

    in the situation do you really need that background?
    if not, bring down the curtains, or soften the incoming light.

    or change angle of subject

    else its flash (you will probably need HSS),
    or HDR

  12. #12

    Default Re: Question on shooting against bright background

    Quote Originally Posted by Kamensky View Post
    Hi all, new to the forums here and relatively new to photography as well. One of the difficulties i have is trying to take good quality shots against very bright background. what i always get is a dark focus subject against bright background. i would like to ask for advice here, besides testing with shutter speed and apertue settings, what else should i be looking at?

    Thanks all!
    You can either:

    A) Meter the background and take one pic. Meter the foreground and take one pic. Blend these two pics using PhotoShop, or

    B) Meter the background in Manual mode (shutter speed not exceeding the camera flash sync speed). Take the pic using fill-in flash.
    Last edited by LFC25; 28th September 2011 at 08:42 PM.

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Question on shooting against bright background

    Quote Originally Posted by Kamensky View Post
    Hi all, new to the forums here and relatively new to photography as well. One of the difficulties i have is trying to take good quality shots against very bright background. what i always get is a dark focus subject against bright background. i would like to ask for advice here, besides testing with shutter speed and apertue settings, what else should i be looking at?



    Here's the image after decreasing shutter speed to 1.6. Looks brighter but the background seems to be over-exposed.



    Thanks all!
    This is where you need to learn about dynamic range or commonly known as DR. This is the range of brightest to darkest part in the scene, if the difference is too high only either brightest or the darkest part will be properly exposed.
    You need to understand the fact that DR of camera is not as wide as of our eyes. Specially for digital sensors the dynamic range is poor than of film cameras.
    One camera may have better DR than other but all have their limitations.
    So as suggested by the experts above, you have following options:
    1- Reduce the DR in the scene if its in your control (like putting curtain in above photo or set-up some light on the subject in room.
    2- Take shots on multiple exposures like in one case background is properly exposed in other case subject and then merge these too in post processing.
    3- Understand what is important in your scene and expose that properly, ignoring if other parts are under or over exposed. Or agree to some trade-off on blown highlights or shades.

    Now you will know why on the out door scenes they use reflectors and all to lit their subject properly

  14. #14
    Deregistered shaoken's Avatar
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    Default Re: Question on shooting against bright background

    If you need the background, you can use a faster shutter with a fill-in flash to brighten the main subject.

  15. #15

    Default Re: Question on shooting against bright background

    Quote Originally Posted by David Kwok View Post
    Meter the bright background, in your case use a weighted meter on focus point. You can point the focus point at the bright background, lock in the exposure (refer to your manual), shift your focus point and half press to refocus on your subject. Do ensure your flash is on, then snap your pic. If ur flash support BL it should looks pretty ok. In any case, you can always fine adjust your flash strength. The idea in this technique is to bring your dynamics of the scene to a much narrow range where your sensor can accommodate. Until sensors becomes as good our eyes and brain, this is a limitation photographers will need to address.
    Finally had time to try out expert's advice after one week and although i did not manage to do lock in exposure (i'm using an EPL3 and still exploring the controls and the user manual), i did managed to play around with weighted meter combined with a low flash strength and obtained a better result. Thanks for your advice!

  16. #16

    Default Re: Question on shooting against bright background

    Quote Originally Posted by NedKelly View Post
    in the situation do you really need that background?
    if not, bring down the curtains, or soften the incoming light.

    or change angle of subject

    else its flash (you will probably need HSS),
    or HDR
    Actually this is a test scenario. Bringing down the curtain and reducing the lighting will bring about instant results, but i wanted to make use of this example to consult experts on a topic which i will come across during the real deal.
    BTW what is HSS or HDR?

  17. #17

    Default Re: Question on shooting against bright background

    Quote Originally Posted by iarshad View Post
    This is where you need to learn about dynamic range or commonly known as DR. This is the range of brightest to darkest part in the scene, if the difference is too high only either brightest or the darkest part will be properly exposed.
    You need to understand the fact that DR of camera is not as wide as of our eyes. Specially for digital sensors the dynamic range is poor than of film cameras.
    One camera may have better DR than other but all have their limitations.
    So as suggested by the experts above, you have following options:
    1- Reduce the DR in the scene if its in your control (like putting curtain in above photo or set-up some light on the subject in room.
    2- Take shots on multiple exposures like in one case background is properly exposed in other case subject and then merge these too in post processing.
    3- Understand what is important in your scene and expose that properly, ignoring if other parts are under or over exposed. Or agree to some trade-off on blown highlights or shades.

    Now you will know why on the out door scenes they use reflectors and all to lit their subject properly
    Great advice! Thanks!

  18. #18

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Kamensky
    Hi all, new to the forums here and relatively new to photography as well. One of the difficulties i have is trying to take good quality shots against very bright background. what i always get is a dark focus subject against bright background. i would like to ask for advice here, besides testing with shutter speed and apertue settings, what else should i be looking at?

    Here's the image after decreasing shutter speed to 1.6. Looks brighter but the background seems to be over-exposed.

    Thanks all!
    If you're not insistent on doing it yourself.

    Try out the HDR feature. It takes 2 shots. One for the bright area, another for the dark areas then combines both to give you the final pic.

  19. #19

    Default Re: Question on shooting against bright background

    bracket your shots with 2 stops interval of exposure, +2, 0, -2.

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