That makes sense. Honestly, wishing I could upgrade to 5d3 or 4, but the 2 was my dream camera when I bought it, so I'll just have to make do for now.
I'm still learning the best settings for the look I'm going for. I want light and airy photos that are beautifully backlit, and I only recently learned the warmth and reflectiveness of the ground/surroundings will influence how bright the subject is. Last time I shot with far too low of an ISO and the noise was worse than it is at 1250. I read somewhere that if you try to shoot low ISO, you get MORE density of noise than if you just bump it up. So now I'm trying to find the right balance, and in the meantime I went to the opposite extreme. f/3.5 is my favorite so far for background blur, so just been trying to nail down the perfect exposure otherwise. Any tips are definitely appreciated, I've been absorbing everything mentioned in this entire thread
Above and beyond the annoyance of having moiré show up in specific situations, the EXIF data, combined with your description of why you chose the camera settings you did, indicate that you might want to 1) consider learning more about exposure, specifically raw exposure for your camera, and 2) consider using a flash, with a light modifier, for fill light.
If you want to produce images similar to those on the internet with a lot of backlight, you will have to learn how to compress the tonal range of the scene so that your background remains under control but your subjects are not just an underexposed black blob buried in shadowy noise. The 5DII does ok up to about ISO 800, possibly 1600, before noise starts to critically damage the image. In the backlit situation, your subject will be subject to the vagaries of noise and that is not helpful to the most important part of the image! Fill flash will help bring the exposure up on the subject while still permitting the background to be backlit, but retain information. You get the nice hair light effect, but still have plenty of data for the subject's face, etc. A light modifier that diffuses the harsh flash light will soften that splash of fill to help with flattering modeling. Of course you can also use reflectors and other passive elements to get extra light in there, whatever works best for your style.
I am in no way affiliated with MagMod products, but I use them and find them versatile (as a system) and easy to interchange and transport in the field. They also are easy to attach to your equipment and provide a wide range of light modification. The MagBounce is what I am thinking might be helpful for your intended use:
Also, raw exposure is different than JPEG exposure, and using the camera's histogram to judge exposure is not precise (it is based not the JPEG image, subject to the various picture styles set up in camera). A very useful tool to explore your camera's raw exposure capabilities is Raw Digger:
Take a look at their website for various videos and write ups about raw exposure and JPEG versus raw exposure. Because you are trying to walk the tightrope of exposure with a very contrasty lighting scheme, you need to be absolutely spot-on when setting your exposure to preserve your highlights and get the best exposure on your subject. Once you get this nailed down, your post-processing will be a lot more straightforward, with fewer steps dedicated to tweaking noise reduction and white balance.
Even if you are not going for that super dramatic fully backlit shot, using the sun as a hair light is a great way to add a portrait light to your scene for free. There are a TON of terrific videos on the Sekonic website, or produced by Skeonic that talk about balancing flash with daylight for portraits. Google "Joe Brady Sekonic" for in-depth videos that cover this topic.