Dealing with bright background on outdoor…

Back in 2008 and while roaming near Kota Kinabalu Signal Hill observatory platform, got to meet Daphne Iking & crew shooting footage for “Explore Race” TV program. Well I’m not going to talk about the TV program but merely about outdoor light and how the camera responds to it. Perhaps it is a simple thing but sometimes this situation will simply make newbies curios about why their newly bought expensive camera act like in such a way.

Meter the background to correct exposure = Daphne's face in semi-silhouette

First, my idea for the composition in this photo is to show the TV crew at work but in bright light background as this, the camera just can’t get the exposure as I wanted especially on Daphne’s face. As shown on photo above, the situation is if I “meter” Daphne’s face to get correct exposure, the background will surely be overexposed and what I did is I “meter” the background to correct exposure and sadly Daphne’s face become almost silhouette. Hey come on,  I want the face well lit too. She is beautiful after all. 🙂

Why did this happen? It is cause the contrast between highlight and shadow area is just too high and the camera can’t deal with it unless you have to sacrifice either the background to be overexposed to get Daphne’s face in correct exposure or just let her in semi-silhouette as above

meter to the background to correct exposure & reflector to lit Daphne's face

By the way as Daphne was going into action. I guess the TV crew know better about the problem and was ready to deal with it. As I maintained the exposure to meter it to correct exposure for the background… the reflector came into action and Daphne face lit-up as I wanted 🙂

However,  I don’t carry reflector while roaming around but I always make sure I have my speed light with fully charge battery in my beg.. all the time.. who knows I might need it badly 🙂

Anyway.. If i want to get Daphne face expose correctly without using reflector or speed light, I could zoom my lens to her face for a tight compo, meter to correct exposure and let the “minimal” background to be overexposed. After all, in this case my main subject is the face, sadly I don’t have Daphne’s tight compo shot because my lens is out of range. Both photos taken at 40mm using Nikon D60 attached with 18-55mm kitlens 🙂

Hey it is Friday again… happy weekend everyone 🙂


About lano lan

A freelance photographer with 5 years experience in photography. Familiar with local culture in Malaysia and has vast experience in capturing moments in any local event particularly in Sabah. As a full time photographer, I am also familiar and able to take advantage of the local climate condition. In other words, rain or shine, there is always a chance of capturing lights in action.
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14 Responses to Dealing with bright background on outdoor…

  1. Thanks for sharing your knowledge Lano 😀

  2. Juan AY says:

    Congrat Bro on ur Blog n thanks for sharing ur tips

  3. Al-Brie says:

    Tq sifu…..

  4. jil Deja Vo says:

    bagus tuan..ada peningkatan sia sokong

  5. zsuperc says:

    Hey guru, congrats on your first blog post…a great leap from the “If you trust me guy” 😉

  6. zaini says:

    Keep on…. we want to hear something from photographer minds, about what they capture…

  7. Mino Arshad says:

    All The Best, Lano Lan 🙂

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