This post is an answer to a question that Raymund Picart has sent in. Raymund, as I’m sure many others out there, is having trouble shooting subjects with bright backlight. He ends up either over exposing or under exposing his subject.
One of the simplest ways to creating dramatic photos, is backlighting your subject. Backlighting is done by placing your main light behind your subject, facing you and the camera from the front.
With backlighting it all comes down to two options, really:
However, if you wanna counteract that strong backlight, you have two main option:
The camera metering is designed to give correct readings under average circumstances. This means that the camera would look at a scene and try to render it as average reflectance (18% reflectance), which is middle grey (a value right in the middle between pure black and pure white). When a scene contains too much bright, however, the camera tries to render it as average so it darkens it causing under-exposure. On the other hand, when a scene contains too much dark, the camera tries to render it as average so it lightens it causing over-exposure.
We as human beings see in color rather than black and white, and there are colors that are considered average. Meaning, they reflect an average amount of light, which is around the same amount that middle grey reflects.
Taking advantage of backlighting can often yield some really interesting silhouettes.
The key to great silhouettes lies in exposing for the background. You can be sure to produce a great silhouette each and every time, by simple following these little tricks:
Now, you have a perfect backlit silhouette!
Photo by nattu
On the other hand, if you’re more concerned with capturing your subjects properly exposed than you’re with shooting a dramatic silhouette, then you should be sure to take your meter reading off your specific subject.
To correctly expose your subject when backlit, make sure you follow the following steps:
Now, you got yourself a perfectly exposed subject even though they are being brightly backlit!
Photo by Daniel Zedda
Remember guys, if anyone has a photography question they’d like to ask, please head over to the Submit your Q! page and post your question right now!
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