Techniques for dealing with backlit locations

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by shannonegg, Jul 23, 2009.

  1. shannonegg

    shannonegg TPF Noob!

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    I'm doing portrait work for a high school marching band next week, which involves a group shot of about 100 kids in bleachers outside. I went to the stadium this morning to check things out, and have realized that if there is sun, it will be behind the bleachers. Obviously I'll be too far away to utilize any kind of flash. I'll be shooting with a Rebel XTI with a 70-200mm f2.8 lens perched on top of a 12 foot ladder. Any suggestions on dealing with back light would be great!
     
  2. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Welcome to the forum.

    Since it sounds like you won't be able use any lighting to light up the front of them, the important thing will be that you meter correctly and don't let the bright sky/sun in the background affect the exposure. The result will likely be that the background will have to be completely blown out in order to get enough exposure of your subjects, but that's a lot better than having them appear only in silhouette.
     
  3. Bravotwofive

    Bravotwofive TPF Noob!

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    You could take some white sheets, and hang them up (or have them held up) behind you to reflect some of the natural light back towards your victi...er I mean subjects. :p

    Meter in average, spot, and bracket your shots.
     
  4. KmH

    KmH Helping photographers learn to fish Supporting Member

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    An alternative to sheets is 4 x 8 sheets of dry wall or paint a couple sheets of cheap 1/8" plywood or particle board white, anything big and white to reflect. You'll need a couple assistants.

    If you have 2 speedlights and can do OCF:
    Adjust the zoom on both to the max.

    Put one on the left. Aim it at the last person on the RIGHT in the middle row. That will feather it nicely. Put the other light on the right and aim it at the last person on the LEFT in the middle row.
     
  5. JerryPH

    JerryPH No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    How about just having them face 180 degrees and you shoot with the sun behind you, is there a reason why the most obvious thing that I would first think of, not work for you?
     
  6. musicaleCA

    musicaleCA TPF Noob!

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    Note that the speedlites will have to be rather far back to get even fall-off, but yeah, doable. Maybe toss in those large boards too for good measure?
     
  7. KmH

    KmH Helping photographers learn to fish Supporting Member

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    I think they probaby want the school name/logo in the shot and the bleachers on the other side of the field are for the visitors, so no school name/logo over there.
     
  8. skieur

    skieur TPF Noob!

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    Careful placement and use of a graduated neutral density filter is what I would use.

    skieur
     
  9. Kcc

    Kcc TPF Noob!

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    +1 :thumbup:
     
  10. Josh66

    Josh66 Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Or, even better - wait to do the shoot untill after noon, when the sun will be in the right place.


    Does it absolutely have to be done in the morning?
     
  11. shannonegg

    shannonegg TPF Noob!

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    Yes this seems most logical, but the bleachers on the opposite side are much higher and at more of an incline. I'm worried about the upward angle in which I'll have to shoot as I won't be high enough to get a level shot (I'll be on a 12 foot ladder as it is).
     
  12. Josh66

    Josh66 Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    So..., what about shooting on the good bleachers, but waiting for the good sunlight? (Like I said before...)
     

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