Monday, July 11, 2011

Shoot Against the Light

This is categorized under the heading "I thought I was doing it correctly...". Well, I just invented that category on the fly, but it is a good category for those things you, well, thought you were doing right.

The common misconception is to put your subjects in front of a glaring light source, say the sun, so that their faces will be lit. Well, yes, your subjects will be well-lit but, since the sun is glaring down on them, they would be squinting big time. Yes, I've seen it happen and it's not pretty...

So, instead, what you should do is put the sun behind and expose for your subject. Cameras these days are so intelligent, especially those with face detection, that when a face is detected, they'd adjust the exposure for the person right away. (Note, though, that, for a fully-automatic point-and-shoot, the camera might jack up the ISO setting and this will add noise to your photo. I'd write another post on how to go around this.)

If you are an owner of a spanking-brand new DSLR, then dig down into the menu and use Spot Metering and put the "spot" on your subject. Then, you will be sure that the exposure setting is for your subject and not the average for the entire scene.

Another advantage of putting the light source behind: the light source can act as a rim light, as you can see on the shoulders, head and visor of the wife.

Shoot against the light - you'll make better photos and your subjects will be thanking you for not ruining their eyes. :)

Shot made with a Canon 5D Mark II. Want a great backpack for your DSLR? Check out my review of my favorite bag, the Lowepro Versapack 200 AW, here and here.


  1. i am an amateur when it comes to photography and this helps!

  2. Hi Adith. Thank you for visiting my site and following my posts. Glad I could be of help. Cheers!



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