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How to shoot under BACKLIGHT situation?
Hi guys,.

I tried to shoot an object where the sun is behind it. However, my image came out very dark. The color of the image was not what I saw in the viewfinder..

I think my exposure meter was wrong..

May I know what should I do so that the color of the image is close to what I see in the viewfinder?.

Where should I point my camera to in order to lock the exposure?.

Please share..

Thank you...

Comments (16)

Jabez Fu wrote:.

Hi guys,.

I tried to shoot an object where the sun is behind it. However, myimage came out very dark. The color of the image was not what I sawin the viewfinder..

I think my exposure meter was wrong..

May I know what should I do so that the color of the image is closeto what I see in the viewfinder?.

Where should I point my camera to in order to lock the exposure?.

Please share..

Thank you..

You have a few choices - fill flash if the subject is close enough, spot meter on the subject (background will blow out but subject will be properly exposed), change the position your shooting from or the subjects location relative to the light..

The light meter is OK...

Comment #1

Charlie DavisNikon 5700, Sony R1, Nikon D300HomePage: http://www.1derful.infoBridge Blog: http://www.here-ugo.com/BridgeBlog/'Experience: Discovering that a claw hammer will bend nails.Epiphany: Discovering that a claw hammer is two tools...'..

Comment #2

Hi,.

I want both the subject and the background to be clear..

Right now both subject and the background are dark..

Thank you for your reply...

Comment #3

Your camera is probably set to evaluative metering and is therefore metering for a combination of the subject and the background. This leads to underexposure of the subject because of the bright background..

There are two ways around this. The first is to switch to spot metering and meter for the subject only. The second is to adjust the Exposure Compensation (EV) upwards until you get the correct exposure for the subject..

It may be that you cannot correctly expose for the subject without blowing the background - having it appear as pure white in the image. This will show up on the histogram as a flashing areas on the image in review mode. There are a number of ways round this, but the easiest is to use fill flash - pop up the flash and set the camera to Av or Tv mode. Another way is to come back later in the day when the background light isn't so bright.Chris R..

Comment #4

Jabez Fu wrote:.

Hi,.

I want both the subject and the background to be clear..

I do too but unfortunately no camera has the ability to see the same range of tones from light to dark as the human eye. If the dynamic range of the scene exceeds what the camera is capable of capturing you will either have blown out highlights, black shadows or both..

Right now both subject and the background are dark..

As some one else mentioned in a post you could add + exposure comp to a scene that you see as very bright. However, this probably won't completely fix your problem if you have alot of contrast in the scene..

Thank you for your reply...

Comment #5

Chris R-UK wrote:.

Your camera is probably set to evaluative metering and is thereforemetering for a combination of the subject and the background. Thisleads to underexposure of the subject because of the brightbackground..

In theory Canon's evaluative metering system should cope with backlit subjects - the manual is specific on that. But in practice I would do exactly as you suggest below..

There are two ways around this. The first is to switch to spotmetering and meter for the subject only. The second is to adjust theExposure Compensation (EV) upwards until you get the correct exposurefor the subject..

It may be that you cannot correctly expose for the subject withoutblowing the background - having it appear as pure white in the image.This will show up on the histogram as a flashing areas on the imagein review mode. There are a number of ways round this, but theeasiest is to use fill flash - pop up the flash and set the camera toAv or Tv mode. Another way is to come back later in the day when thebackground light isn't so bright.Chris R..

Comment #6

From the review it looks like the XSi has 8.7 stops of range. If the difference between the background and your subject is greater than 8.7 EV you'll never capture both. You may be able to get something halfway between proper exposure for the background and exposure for the subject. The background will be over exposed and the subject underexposed but you may be able to dodge and burn something better in photoshop. Usiing Raw would help to retain detail at extremes of exposure..

(I've never been able to make this work for me decently but maybe you'd have better luck).

You'd be better off using fill flash and maybe a flash gel..

Image control:Zoom outZoom 100%Zoom inExpand AllOpen in new window..

Comment #7

If you have a full backlite situation-person standing with his back to a beach or white snow, then you have a problem..

First it is very likely that the dynamic range of the whole scene including the person and background exceeds the sensor's ability to capture that range in 1 shot. this leaves you with 2 options- the first is to decide what is the subject and meter and shoot for that. suggest spot meter on the subject so you are metering the subject only, then shoot with those settings. the background will be blown out highlites under this shooting condition..

The second option is to change the shooting conditions to something that the camera's sensor can handle. the DR is just too large. a jpeg can take about 6stops of DR, while raw can go about 8stops of DR. the heavy backlite scene is over either number. to change the DR you can simply use a fillin flash if you are close enough, or use somekind of reflector to throw more light on the subject to increase that light level so it is closer to the background's light level..

The 3rd option is that if the scene is without movement, or can be shot without movement, for a short time(60 seconds), then it is possible to use a HDR shooting technique to capture the large DR as is with no change of the lighting conditions..

The HDR technique can capture a scene with no limit to amount of DR. though HDR does require that the scene have no movement since it takes time to use the technique. perhaps a minute.see the next reply for a how to on HDR...

Comment #8

HDR=High Dynamic Range photographyto do hdr-.

If you put camera into full auto matrix metering, take first shot note fstop and shutter speed. put camera into full manual, see if camera still has the matrix fstop and shutter speed. if yes, then using shutter speed go up 2-4 shutter speeds 1 fstop worth of shutter speed at a time. the back to matrix shutter speed and go down same number of shutter speeds..

Christian bloch in his hdri handbook did a test of 1 fstop bracketing vs 2fstop bracketing. there was an obvious image quality falloff using the 2fstop bracketing. if the image quality decline in 2stop bracketing is acceptable to you then use the 2 stop. 1 stop is recommended for max image quality, though of course it needed more shots.this is on a tripod with cable release..

No, you should not use 1 raw shot and convert 1 stop up and down, because their is not enough dynamic range in the 1 raw shot. dynamic range is why we are doing this, hdr is trying to get all it can. If you use a single raw shot and triple convert it, you still end up with no more DR than the single raw shot..

The group of shots can be raw or jpeg. if jpeg they can be used as is. if raw remember that you HAVE to batch process all 3-9(?) shots. this is because the pp has to be all the same on every pic. you cannot, for example make any attempt to get the shadow details of the group of raw pics, because that would require different amounts of pp, and you cannot do that with hdr. the pp for all shots has to be identical..

For me I just shoot them in jpeg and use them from the camera, that way they are all identical because the camera jpeg settings are the same for every shot. I also put my hand streched in front of the lens and take a check shot and when done take a ending shot with hand. this tells me where the hdr group is on my memory card when I transfer to the pc..

The only important item is to bracket using shutter speeds only. if fstops are used it changes dof between shots. and shoot enough shots, 3-9(?) is the optimum. the only other thought is to shoot a scene that deserves the the hdr technique, too many people are shooting hdr because it is new or different or whatever. many people are using hdr software on scenes that do not have enough dynamic range; they end up with images that have been enhanced by hdr software, they are not hdr images. the dynamic range was not in the scene to begin with.

This can be checked with a spotmeter on different areas. NOTE: use of auto bracketing on a camera may not work unless you know the bracketing is using the shutter speeds to bracket. in any event, you really need 3-9(?) shots for hdr; this is more than the auto bracket fcn on almost all cameras. and the bracketing has to be both sides of the middle shot. make you use enough brackets to cover the previously checked dynamic range.

And the scene should have no movement, if so the item will blur in the hdr image..

Do not adjust the focus. set the focus on infinity or use a hyperfocal setup for focus..

Do not adjust the white balance for individual shots. go with awb or 1 setting and do not change it..

Remember, hdr was created and meant for scene that have a dynamic range that exceeds the dynamic range of the camera sensor, about 5-6stops for jpeg or 7-9 for raw. hdr with the required software allows the user to capture a scene that has very high dynamic range..

I currently use Dynamic-Photo HDR and recommend it. Less than the price of photomatrix and it has 6 different looks, (the photomatrix look is included), and each of the 6 looks can be fine tuned. Get Dynamic-Photo hdr here-http://www.mediachance.com/hdri/index.html also included is a program that is part of DP hdr that can make a fake hdr look image from a jpeg..

Pp. after the hdri is made and is in a folder, I open in pe6. there I use noise ninja(to reduce noise), auto levels(to give a normal overall brightness amount), and focus magic(to sharpen and give a better focus. also is focus magic is used do not sharpen at all, that is double sharpening and is guerenteed to make artifacts.). save as tiff. DO NOT USE AUTO CONTRAST OR ANY OTHER CONTRAST ADJUSTMENT.

Also do not adjust any shadows or bright areas. the point of hdr is to let the shooting of multiple shots and the hdr software combining of those shots take care of the dark areas and bright areas..

Iot is alaso possible to use exposure blending as another technique. see the next reply for a short talk on it, and the differnce between that and HDR...

Comment #9

There is a fundamental difference between hdr and exposure blending. it is not just a look, it is intent of the technique. assuming that you have 3 shots of a scene, and the scene is worthy of hdr at all(not all are), and the shots are plus and minus 2ev from the center metered shot and you have the center shot also. what exposure blending does is that the process selects the properly exposed portions of the scene from all 3 images and literally puts them together into a image in which all parts are properly exposed. but in the real scene that you saw with your eyes there is also a relationship between adjoining sections of the scene. if part a and part b adjoin each other and a is twice or four times as bright as b, then with your eyes that is what you see looking at the real scene with your eyes.

The 2 parts will appear exposed right but the 2 times or 4 times differnce in brightness will not be right or even present..

If the above 3 shots are processed in hdr software. the actual 32bit image, which cannot be seen in true form, only parts of it, maintains the relationship between any and all adjoining parts of the image that have any brightness differences. then through the process of tonemapping the 32bit image is changed to a 8 or 16bit jpeg or tiff. this image is maintaining the image differences and brightness differences between the adjoining sections and NOT just using the properly exposed sections..

The gradient between the sections is being maintained in hdr in an approximation of the true real scene. in exposure blending the only criteria is that the parts of the scene are all properly exposed. hdr is trying to show what the scene looked like in it's real form and view while exposure blending is just showing an image that has no wrongly exposed parts..

If you have questions about any of the 3 replys , please ask...

Comment #10

Thanks a lot..

I really need sometimes to digest what you said..

I really appreciate your input...

Comment #11

What gets me is you claim that the background AND the foreground are underexposed. That means the exposure was off to begin with. I would suggest shooting in manual mode, and checking your results until you get it right. If the foreground is darker than the background, you can brighten it up by using more flash (use flash exposure compensation). You cannot compensate with a foreground that is brighter than the background by adding flash.fueled.by.ambition..

Comment #12

Does anyone has the sample with backlight?.

I really want to see how it can be done..

Please provide aslo the shutter speed, f/stop, and ISO..

Thank you...

Comment #13

Jabez Fu wrote:.

Does anyone has the sample with backlight?.

I think YOU should post your problem pic (that has both the foreground and background underexposed). Be sure that you don't remove the EXIF data, so taht we can see how you took the pic! In that way, we can help you much better..

Charlie DavisNikon 5700, Sony R1, Nikon D300HomePage: http://www.1derful.infoBridge Blog: http://www.here-ugo.com/BridgeBlog/'Experience: Discovering that a claw hammer will bend nails.Epiphany: Discovering that a claw hammer is two tools...'..

Comment #14

Actually, I deleted those images because I'm kind of disappointed with the results..

I will definitely take more shoots and post them here...

Comment #15

Jabez Fu wrote:.

Actually, I deleted those images because I'm kind of disappointedwith the results..

That's normally a good thing (deleting bad pix), but when you are learning, those bad pix can be invaluable..

I will definitely take more shoots and post them here..

Good..

Charlie DavisNikon 5700, Sony R1, Nikon D300HomePage: http://www.1derful.infoBridge Blog: http://www.here-ugo.com/BridgeBlog/'Experience: Discovering that a claw hammer will bend nails.Epiphany: Discovering that a claw hammer is two tools...'..

Comment #16

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This question was taken from a support group/message board and re-posted here so others can learn from it.

 

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