How to achieve this look

Discussion in 'People Photography' started by linpelk, Jan 25, 2009.

  1. linpelk

    linpelk TPF Noob!

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    I am pretty new at this photography thing so I have a question that MAY be stupid. Every once in a while I will get a picture that ends up being a really dark background and the subject is lit. This has happened a couple of times for me on accident and I'd like to know if there is a way of doing it on purpose (see picture below...I know it's not an amazing picture, but just an example) I don't think it was particularly dark when I shot this picture in my kitchen window. If there was THAT much light on her face there would be light in the room since we have windows all along that wall. I don't have Photoshop...I have Aperture and I don't know how to use it (just mostly crop and adjust exposure...some white balance but I never know if it looks better or worse after I've done it). Anyway, this picture is completely unedited straight from the camera. Any advice? [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2009
  2. rmh159

    rmh159 TPF Noob!

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    I'll take a stab at explaining this but I'm sure others can do it better...

    What you're seeing is a difference in subject lighting and ambient lighting in the room.

    The subject is lit by a window that's pouring in a lot of light but the rest of the room is somewhat darker (due to shades or whatever). So when your camera meters for all of the light that's hitting the subject... it sets the aperture / shutter speed too small / fast to capture any of the ambient lighting in the background.

    To replicate this just make sure you're exposing for the subject and put more light on them than what's in the surroundings.
     
  3. Sarah23

    Sarah23 TPF Noob!

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    Good explanation.

    Yes, the light on your subject is greater then the light in the room. When you meter off your subject, your cameras meter say "oh, I need THIS to be the right exposure" and shows you via the light meter what to set your camera to. When you take the shot, you are exposing for that bright window light coming in, not for the darker background. If you were to keep the same compsition, but meter for the background, you would notice that you would need a MUCH slower shutterspeed and/or wider aperture, and your main subject (the child) would be way overexposed and the background would be properly exposed.
     
  4. linpelk

    linpelk TPF Noob!

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    Ok, so I just need to make sure to meter really close to the subject at the window light, then back up a bit to snap the shot...is that right? And thanks for the reply. I was starting to feel self conscious about asking the question since no one had responded.
     
  5. Sarah23

    Sarah23 TPF Noob!

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    Use spot metering, meter off the skin and increase your exposure by half a stop or so. I would watch your histogram. As long as the background is a bit darker and your subject is well lit, you will ge this effect.
     
  6. raechael

    raechael TPF Noob!

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    it works really well for me if you make your own soft box, just using a desk lamp and paper. put the lamp on a low adjusment and tape pieces of paper over the opening. The room needs to be completely dark so the lamp only illuminates one side of the face.
     

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