Portraits in Bright areas

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by lordson, Nov 9, 2007.

  1. lordson

    lordson TPF Noob!

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    hi guys, i have a question

    how do you take portraits of people in bright lighting situations

    it was really sunny out and the camera doesn't quite get the metereing right

    the subjects are underexposed,

    [​IMG]

    i locked the metering to the surround, and set the flash on, then the whole picture is overexposed

    [​IMG]

    and then i tried it focusing on the subject and the background is underexposed!

    [​IMG]

    argh!

    how do i get perfect exposure of the foreground and background?

    do i adjust the flash power? my camera doesn't seem to be able to do that, and i think Flash Compensation will just create a generally underexposed photo and not solve my problem

    cheers fellas
     
  2. Alpha

    Alpha Troll Extraordinaire

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    You need to purchase an off-camera flash to use for fill.
     
  3. The Phototron

    The Phototron TPF Noob!

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    Or a reflector if you're broke like me. :/
     
  4. JIP

    JIP No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Try some fill-flash. Even the cheapest point-and-shoot cameras have a fill-flash setting.
     
  5. Alex_B

    Alex_B No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    regarding exposure this is the best of the three shots.
    If you do not have a flash or reflector, this is all you can do... expose for the main subject. Actually , her face is still underexposed a bit.

    If you use a flash, off-camera flash would be a good idea as mentioned.

    Oh, and by the way, the first an d the last are totally different lighting situations! in the first scene the background (sky) is much brighter than the people, so if you had exposed for the people, the background would appear even brighter (basically blown out) than it does now.

    In the last scene, part of the background is much darker than the main subject. If you had exposed for her face, that background would come out a bit brighter, but you might have lost the sky then, which might be blown out then.
     
  6. JerryPH

    JerryPH No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    As was mentioned in the RAW vs JPG thread, this is one of those times that you could take a single shot and if it is in RAW format, save one JPG with the forground properly exposed and save another JPG where the background was properly exposed and HDR it.

    Yeah, tons of work for something that a simple offboard flash could address easily enough... but in the case where you have no choice and were shooting RAW, at least there is a possible way to save the picture.

    But Alex did hit it right on with the first and last picture analysis, but the solution, IMHO is basically the same. You meter off something behind them (knowing WHAT to meter off is the big trick!)

    - In the first pic you meter off that catwalk above the man's head and use fill flash at ~ 1/4 to 1/2 power (or use TTL to adjust strobe automatically), to get a proper exposure of the people.

    In the last pic you had two choices:
    (A) if you had moved over a little to put her in the shade on the right, and metered off of the dark building, the sky would have been blown out but the details of the buildings and the lady would have been correct.

    (B) Left everything as is and just metered off her face, the building would have had a LITTLE more detail and the sky blownout some, but the lady's face would have had the correct exposure. This one would be my choice as the sky would be blown out less than using method (A).

    (C) The unmentioned (and possibly not possible for non-Nikon users), choice ( :lol: ). Shotting RAW. Meter off the darkest part of the buidling. This then overexposes the woman by about about 1 stop and overexposes the sky by about 3 stops. In Capture NX, install a colour control point on the sky.. reduce it by 3-4 stops. Install a colour control point on the woman.. reduce it by 1 stop. Near percect exposure everywhere without HDR. ;)

    Either would work, but you choose how you would have wanted to handle that one, but some form of spot metering would have helped a lot here... along with the off-camera flash, of course.

    Edit: With your permission, I would want to try something to your picture, please. This is a REALLY fast and dirty fix under NX and NN with your JPG, but just to give you a fast idea (the colours are not to my liking at all, but just a fast example what could be done in 30 seconds).
    [​IMG]
     
  7. Stranger

    Stranger TPF Noob!

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    This may not be exactly what you are looking for but i often find myself in the same situation. What i find best (without any reflectors or off camera flash and without changing location) is to just know your limitations. Ask yourself is the background really that important in this shot? If so, capture it the best you can or try multiple exposures; and if not, zoom in and capture a half body shot or something.
     
  8. gryphonslair99

    gryphonslair99 Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Either some type of fill lighting or shoot during the golden hours.
     
  9. Alpha

    Alpha Troll Extraordinaire

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    Reflectors are always good things to have around, but unless very large, they'll often come up short when you're shooting multiple people. Diffused fill-flash is preferential.
     
  10. lordson

    lordson TPF Noob!

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    thanks for the replies guys

    i suppose i'll just have to experiment more with what to meter off

    i'm using multi-point metering for all those shots

    perhaps ill try centre-weighted and spot sometime soon


    and fill flash? my Pentax K100D doesn't seem to have a setting for that


    i actually had a situation where the background was correctly exposed and i used the flash, but the subjects came out all white and overspoed. i suppose one way to fix that is to stand back a bit and zoom in right?

    why does it seem that P+S always get the exposure right, when my dSLR can't half the time

    i know, i know, its up to me, but its hard

    i'm concentrating so much on exposure atm and can't really focus on my composition
     
  11. skieur

    skieur TPF Noob!

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    It depends on the equipment Max. On some cameras the flash setting (shutterspeed and f stop) would be less than what was necessary for the available bright light....ie. flash setting 1/125 sec. at f. 8 but available light is 1/125 sec at f22. The result is overexposure if you make your setting according to the flash.

    That is what happened in this shot.

    skieur
     
  12. skieur

    skieur TPF Noob!

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    You can still do some correction in Photoshop. This was done by brightening the shadow areas.

    skieur


    [​IMG]
     

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when using a reflector to take portraits where do you meter from to get proper exposure