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Thread started 22 Apr 2015 (Wednesday) 12:09
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Metering with strong backlighting

 
Frodge
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Apr 22, 2015 12:09 |  #1

I'm curious how you folks handle a strongly backlit scene, with, as an example, a person standing there. I was thinking about this last night after I took the shot. My camera doesn't have ec in M mode. I had it set to auto iso and a high shutter speed. Obviously evaluative will render the subject in the foreground underexposed. Spot metering gives a little better result. (All on auto iso) So my question is whether there is a true workaround in auto iso for this dilemma. Obviously flash could be one of them, but talking more about no flash. Is the answer to just take it out of auto iso and blow the sky out?
Obviously this is not an ideal shooting situation, but I'm curious how you handle it.


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Alveric
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Apr 22, 2015 12:19 |  #2
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Handheld lightmeter.

Lacking that: spot metering and tone-based exposure. Always full manual: **I**, not the camera, decide how the scene is to be exposed.

And yes, if you want the subject properly exposed the sky will blow out, no can help that. Unless you use flash to light the subject, of course. ;)


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Frodge
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Apr 22, 2015 12:23 |  #3

That's what I thought. I was just wondering i there was an acceptable workaround withe the auto iso.


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GeoKras1989
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Apr 22, 2015 15:26 |  #4
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If you have a cooperative subject, you can walk up to them, zoom to longest FL, and meter like that. Go back and shoot. Uncooperative subject: bracket +5,+3, +1. One of them will be within a stop.


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BlakeC
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Apr 22, 2015 15:33 |  #5

Frodge wrote in post #17528080 (external link)
That's what I thought. I was just wondering i there was an acceptable workaround withe the auto iso.

Could you set your Max auto iso to a lower iso then use shutter speed or aperture for EC? That would be close to manual ISO but you would be giving the camera a more limited choice, which should allow you some EC. Haven't tried this myself, it might not work as well as it does in my head. lol


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svarley
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Apr 22, 2015 15:35 |  #6

Exposure compensation doesn't affect auto-ISO? That doesn't make sense.

Other than that - shoot in M and pick the ISO yourself.




  
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Apr 22, 2015 16:34 |  #7

Frodge wrote in post #17528044 (external link)
I'm curious how you folks handle a strongly backlit scene, with, as an example, a person standing there. I was thinking about this last night after I took the shot. My camera doesn't have ec in M mode. I had it set to auto iso and a high shutter speed. Obviously evaluative will render the subject in the foreground underexposed. Spot metering gives a little better result. (All on auto iso) So my question is whether there is a true workaround in auto iso for this dilemma. Obviously flash could be one of them, but talking more about no flash. Is the answer to just take it out of auto iso and blow the sky out?
Obviously this is not an ideal shooting situation, but I'm curious how you handle it.

Incident metering. Sekonic has the definitive online guide. (external link)
Measuring the light that falls on a subject - an incident reading- is less likely to be fooled by an exceptionally back lit subject. (external link)




  
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dodgyexposure
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Apr 22, 2015 23:56 |  #8

svarley wrote in post #17528319 (external link)
Exposure compensation doesn't affect auto-ISO? That doesn't make sense.

Other than that - shoot in M and pick the ISO yourself.

From the OP:

Frodge wrote in post #17528044 (external link)
My camera doesn't have ec in M mode.


Cheers, Damien

  
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Apr 23, 2015 00:48 |  #9

Turn-off Auto-ISO and shoot in Av or Tv mode with +EC, or shoot in manual mode and overexpose.


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Apr 23, 2015 02:47 |  #10

Exactly. But the consideration to use a flash is the real answer. You simply can't get correct exposure for the subject and not overexpose the background, if you don't add light to the shadow part first. Like I did in this image, where some flash was used to brighten the shadow on the subject, without removing it (that would have looked too unnatural to my taste).

IMAGE: https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-LcInUpA5S9U/U3D_5U2Q_mI/AAAAAAAAUNI/5_O625qWO2A/s800/AP1D0301.JPG

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MalVeauX
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Apr 23, 2015 03:10 |  #11

Frodge wrote in post #17528044 (external link)
I'm curious how you folks handle a strongly backlit scene, with, as an example, a person standing there. I was thinking about this last night after I took the shot. My camera doesn't have ec in M mode. I had it set to auto iso and a high shutter speed. Obviously evaluative will render the subject in the foreground underexposed. Spot metering gives a little better result. (All on auto iso) So my question is whether there is a true workaround in auto iso for this dilemma. Obviously flash could be one of them, but talking more about no flash. Is the answer to just take it out of auto iso and blow the sky out?
Obviously this is not an ideal shooting situation, but I'm curious how you handle it.

Heya,

AV + EC, using spot meter or center/partial meter. I do this often with partial meter, at +1 stop EC.

Manual + Over expose. Look at Live View to ensure you have enough exposure on your target to recover with shadow lifting, just before the sky blows out, which you can drop down in post.

I shoot against strong back light pretty often here in Florida. I find partial metering with +1 to +1 & 1/3rd stop EC works great for me in AV, with ISO just high enough to ensure a fast shutter against motion of subject. I do this so I can shoot without worrying. I tend to get enough exposure to lift shadows to get some exposure on the subject, while preserving some sky, but sometimes I do lose the sky to over-exposure, and that's ok, the only way to blend the two really well is with flash (or with a much better and bigger sensor with more dynamic range, like how medium format allows, but that's beyond my financial reach for now, so I either allow sky over exposure, or I use flash).

Using AV + 1 to 1 & 1/3rd stop EC, Partial Metering is how I tend to shoot my backlit subjects (without flash).

IMAGE: https://farm9.staticflickr.com/8670/16346492447_d14bbb5f86_z.jpg
IMAGE LINK: https://flic.kr/p/qUu3​GF  (external link) IMG_2296 (external link) by Mwise1023 (external link), on Flickr

IMAGE: https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7415/15912212093_869a540b77_z.jpg
IMAGE LINK: https://flic.kr/p/qf7f​hn  (external link) IMG_2274 (external link) by Mwise1023 (external link), on Flickr

IMAGE: https://farm9.staticflickr.com/8670/15714564604_ae476f5bc2_z.jpg
IMAGE LINK: https://flic.kr/p/pWDf​z3  (external link) IMG_1869_mark (external link) by Mwise1023 (external link), on Flickr

IMAGE: https://farm3.staticflickr.com/2896/14009153343_877a7046f9_z.jpg
IMAGE LINK: https://flic.kr/p/nkWz​dB  (external link) IMG_0471 (external link) by Mwise1023 (external link), on Flickr

IMAGE: https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7697/16905339408_27287aa396_z.jpg
IMAGE LINK: https://flic.kr/p/rKSh​r7  (external link) IMG_3567 (external link) by Mwise1023 (external link), on Flickr

Or, I shoot manual and add flash to fill:

IMAGE: https://farm9.staticflickr.com/8737/16680544907_a4977deb06_z.jpg
IMAGE LINK: https://flic.kr/p/rq19​RR  (external link) IMG_2966 (external link) by Mwise1023 (external link), on Flickr

Very best,

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yogestee
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May 01, 2015 00:25 |  #12

Frodge,, it doesn't matter which metering settings you use whether spot, evaluative etc. With strong back lighting you can exceed your camera's dynamic range resulting in loss of detail (or burnt out) in backgrounds. Some cameras handle this situation better than others.

Remember the difference between pure white and 18% reflectance grey is only +2.5 EV. Even 2.5 stops can have a dramatic effect on your brightness range where not all tones are rendered accurately.

All I can suggest is a bit of fill flash or a reflector.


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May 01, 2015 13:05 |  #13

Two words "Spot meter"


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May 01, 2015 13:50 |  #14

I understand that to some that on camera fill flash is a dirty word - but honestly, in these situations it, makes perfect sense - add some basic PP techniques to remove or reduce speckled skin and any hot spots and you are way better off. In terms of PP techniques, even with no flash, assuming you shoot raw, just using a radial filter on the face to brighten the face by 2/3rds of a stop does wonders - it is almost like free fill-flash.

For example, take the picture that was posted above, I downloaded it, put a radial filter over the child's face that lightened it by 1-stop and then another larger radial filter around the child's entire body to lighten it by another 1/4 stop (to blend the image better with the background). I did this in 10 seconds in LR (I will take it down if the poster has an issue) - I would clearly take more time if this was a client image to make it blend better.

IMAGE: https://farm9.staticflickr.com/8860/17127073647_6b291debb9_b.jpg
IMAGE LINK: https://flic.kr/p/s6sJ​ie  (external link) backlit (external link) by wallstreetoneil (external link), on Flickr


Similarly, I did a very last minute 30 minute wedding shoot for my partner the other day when the client last minute decided they wanted some very quick ceremony pictures. I walked into the room and the ceremony was going to be completely back lit with bright windows. All I did was point my 600EX-rt flash straight up into my Rogue Flashbender that was bent towards the couple. The window light metered using my 5D3 with spot metering with a 24-70 @ F4.5, 1/125 at ISO 160 - the couple themselves were between 3 to 4 stops higher - if I shot at ISO 2000 the windows would be completely blown. With the flash bounced into the Rogue Flash Bender, they each had a very slight hot spot on their faces which was easy to reduce in LR / PS. I'm a big believer in the Rogue Flash Bender - it is so easy and perfect when combined with minimal LR / PS skills. Their cloths do have that hard flashed look to them but the alternative choice, given the available prep time, was either blown windows or picking a middle ISO that wouldn't work for any part of the image.

(image with LR Radial filter over child's face with +1 stop)
IMAGE: https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7678/17334586835_5f2ecc70de_b.jpg
IMAGE LINK: https://flic.kr/p/spNh​JP  (external link) april_25_group-3 (external link) by wallstreetoneil (external link), on Flickr

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May 01, 2015 14:16 |  #15
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There are, however, some situations in which using flash is impossible. Once I had to take photos of children in a classroom, and since my presence alone was distracting enough for everyone there, I decided against using flash even though I had permission to do so. Worse, the back of the classroom had large windows. I simply accepted the fact that the windows would be blown out to white, metered for my subjects' faces and shot away. The windows were indeed blown out but also gave me excellent rim lighting on the children, separating them from the background. Sometimes a problem is just a blessing in disguise.


'The success of the second-rate is deplorable in itself; but it is more deplorable in that it very often obscures the genuine masterpiece. If the crowd runs after the false, it must neglect the true.' —Arthur Machen
Why 'The Histogram' Sux (external link)

  
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Metering with strong backlighting
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