Washed out BG

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by Lossy, Jul 29, 2004.

  1. Lossy

    Lossy TPF Noob!

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    I have taken a couple photos lately and have noticed an intereresting phenomenae. On a couple of my photographs the subject appears clear while the sky/background appears washed out. There are still quite a few details in the foreground and to the sides of the subject, but as you go to the rear they appear white.

    How can I avoid this? Also how can I replicate it?

    Thank You,

    Brian
     
  2. voodoocat

    voodoocat ))<>(( Supporting Member

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    When you are shooting something that is lit from behind the background will be overexposed and washed out. Film (or digital) can only capture a small range of exposure. Between 3-7 stops depending on whether it's b&w, color negatives, slide film and digital.
     
  3. Big Mike

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

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    Welcome to the site :cool:

    What you are describing is typical of what happens when you take a photo with a medium/dark subject and a bright sky or background.

    Film (or digital sensors) can capture a range of tones...from highlight detail to shadow detail. The catch is that the range is limited. We call this latitude. Color negative film has about 7 stops of latitude while slide film has only 4 or 5 stops. (I think)

    You can either expose for the darker areas or for the lighter areas...but not both. Modern cameras have matrix metering that tries to get the best average for the scene but as a photographer you can outsmart the camera's meter to get what you want.

    To avoid your problem...avoid taking the shot with the background being significantly brighter than the subject. Or use a flash to brighten up the subject.

    Also, if you are using color negative film, the person making your prints has a say in how your prints will look. The most likely would make it so that your subject is properly exposed which would mean sacrificing the background to overexposure.

    I hope this rambling was of some help.
     
  4. AIRIC

    AIRIC TPF Noob!

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    Yes,

    If you were printing on a Fuji Frontier you have the option of a tone adjust. An operator could choose all soft and that would even out the photo a little bit. If it is an operator printing your pics he they would print according to the subject so that would wash out the back ground. Best bet use fill flash.

    Eric
     
  5. Lossy

    Lossy TPF Noob!

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    Thank you for the welcome,

    I use a digital camera, almost exclusively. It is a Fuji FinePix S602z.

    The photos I took were at sunset so my wife's face was fairly shadowed. If I understand correctly, how I got that effect was from using spot averaging. Perhaps, using multi or area would help?
     
  6. voodoocat

    voodoocat ))<>(( Supporting Member

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    Metering isn't going to change the high contrast when using backlighting. I would use the regular meter mode and either use the flash or reflector to fill in the shadows.
     
  7. Lossy

    Lossy TPF Noob!

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    O.K. what would you reccomend to increase contrast.
     
  8. voodoocat

    voodoocat ))<>(( Supporting Member

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    Either shoot in high contrast lighting or increase it in photoshop.
     

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