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Photography Question 
Satish N
 

Exposing for Backlit Subjects


 
 
I have recently purchased Canon A620 and started taking some photographs. I am not a good photographer, so I started using with whatever setting come as default. I took some photographs and I see that they are coming out "darker". Is it because that I have taken them in sunlight? In sunlight the flash is not working. It works only in a dark room (indoor) etc. Basically I feel that there is some problem with my taking of pictures. Is it the problem with Camera or is it because of the way I am taking the pictures? Please advise. I am uploading two images for your review. Thanks!


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4/17/2006 10:09:16 AM

 
Craig m. Zacarelli
BetterPhoto Member Since: 2/3/2005
  I'm not familliar with that camera but it sounds like you might be having "backlighting" problems. A good rule for taking pics outside in the bright sun is to be sure the sun is behind you and not the subject. It seems your camera is metering the bright light so it's darkening the exposure to compensate for the bright light... which is good - but if your subecj is in front of the bright sunlight, you won't get the right detail. For this, you'd need to be shooting in Manual mode and "meter" the subject but then your background will be too bright and look funny. The best thing is the use fill flash and in automatic mode you won't be able too, unless there is a setting on your camera that will let you use it when you want to. Sunlight is very tricky - that is why the best times are at dusk and at dawn... the "golden" hours.


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4/17/2006 10:38:04 AM

 
Satish N  
 
 
Thanks Criag for the quick answer. Here are the images I have taken (in my St. Louis trip)


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4/17/2006 10:58:01 AM

 
Craig m. Zacarelli
BetterPhoto Member Since: 2/3/2005
  see the first shot? the blue sky is nicly exposed? ... backlighting.. your camera set itself to compensate for the sky and that means darkening up the subject... if you had metered off the subject, the background would have been all blown out and no detail... a fill flash would have helped.. look at your manual to see how to use fill flash.
Craig-


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4/17/2006 12:09:09 PM

 
Craig m. Zacarelli
BetterPhoto Member Since: 2/3/2005
  my guess with the second shot was allmost the same thing, it looks as though your camera metered off the bright white shirt, causing the overall shot to be a tad underexposed. here, metering off his face might have helped. Generally, bright white shirts are hard to shoot. Check your manual for "Metering" a spot meter would have been great but im sure you dont have it... center weighted would probably be the one.
Craig-


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4/17/2006 12:12:27 PM

 
Satish N   Thank you Craig...I will study the manual for how to use fill flash. I have learnt good details like backlighting, and fill flash. It's interesting. Thanks for the help.


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4/17/2006 12:13:32 PM

 
anonymous A.    Nice camera, this: it has spot, evaluated and centre-weighted option for exposure, and it allows fill-flash with control over the flash output. You should have no trouble using Craig's suggestions.

However, this camera also lets you use manual control and in addition, you can add or subtract from the exposure the camera suggests; that is called "exposure compensation". In the second sample, fill-flash would be ideal, but in the first, the subject might be too far away for it to help. Here you just set +1 on your exposure compensation (this gives the picture double the exposure the camera advised). You can set up to 2 stops over or under (+ or -)but I'd start with +1 for backlit subjects like this and see how that goes.
Good luck.


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4/18/2006 7:41:55 AM

 
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