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Learn how to optimize the Canon XSi/450D for a backlight scene
Tags:Canon XSi/450D: Set for Backlight Scene,canon xsi/450d,digital camera tutorial,how to use a digital camera,lb guides,photography lessons,set for backlight scene
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With backlight subjects, what’s happening is you have a ton of light coming from behind the subject so the camera takes that into consideration and darkens down the image in order to compensate for that light. While doing so, your subject actually comes out very, very dark.
Now, if a silhouette is what you’re looking for and you don’t mind your subject being that dark, most of the time what you can do is just go ahead and take the picture with the default camera settings and it will come out as a silhouette. However, if you want your subject to be properly exposed and you don’t care if the background is washed out then what you need to do is change your metering mode.
You can use the flash in order to increase the amount of light coming from the front of the subject so just press the Flash button here to pop the flash. Remember, we’re using the program mode so the flash is not automated. If we’re using the auto mode and the flash were automated, the camera would choose not use the flash because it assumes there’s plenty of light in the scene. Because we’re using the program mode, I can press the flash button up the flash.
However, the built-in flash is really not very powerful. And if your subject is more than about 10 or 15 feet away, it probably won’t be enough light to really properly expose the subject. You can use a much larger extra no flash, this will work and it will provide you with plenty of light and you’ll get both the background and your subject in balanced exposure. If you don’t have that option, what you can do is keep using the flash, it will provide you with a least or little bit of light but on top of that, change your metering mode from evaluative to portrait. Go ahead and press the up navigation button. This is your metering option button right here and then go down to choose either portrait or you can even go ahead and use spot metering, it really depends on how much of the frame your subject is occupying at the time.
I’m going to go with portrait, press set. Now, if you frame your image, let’s assume that the LCD screen is the frame of our image, the portrait metering mode is a center portion about this size in the middle. So, I suppose to looking at the entire frame and taking into consideration all that light coming from the background, it’s really only looking at your subject in the center. So, it’s important that you center your subject in the frame, press the shutter button halfway in order to expose for the subject but then recompose the image, remember you don’t want your subject to be dead center. It doesn’t make for a great composition in your photograph.
So, keep that button pressed halfway. And then move the camera around like this to recompose the image and then press the button the rest of the way to take the picture. If you see that the meter is still a little bit too large, the center portion which is metering from is still too big so it’s taking still more of that light from the background into consideration, you want to go with spot meter. So again, just press up, go down to spot, press set and now you should be just fine.
Now remember, as always make sure that your white balance and ISO are set up properly, you do have enough light in the scene so an ISO of 100 should be okay. If you see that the subject is very, very dark and you need to compensate and you can’t use the flash then you may need to increase the ISO. Make sure your white balance is also set properly. If you’re going to use the flash, you can set it to either daylight or flash by pressing the white balance button right here, you have your option, here’s Day Light and here is Flash, press white balance again to escape. If you are not using the flash and the subject is in front of a window for example with a lot of daylight coming in but the subject itself is being illuminated by tungsten lights then you may want to use tungsten as your white balance so press the white balance button, move over to tungsten and press set to okay that.
Keep in mind if you’re using tungsten and your subject is illuminated by tungsten lights, the subject itself will be the right color. However, the light from the window behind the subject will be very, very blue because that’s a daylight balanced light. So, this becomes very, very tricky and difficult. You can’t really get both of them to be the way you see it as a normal white light. Your eyes are much, much better for compensating white balance than any camera.
So, you’ll have to choose whether you want the subject to be a little bit yellow or the background lights to be a little bit blue. Once you have your ISO and white balance properly selected, your metering mode is set to either portrait or spot. You can go ahead and take the picture. Press the shutter button halfway. Again, because we’re using a spot meter, you want to make sure that the subject is right in the center of the frame along with the focus point, press the shutter button halfway, focus and meter on your subject. And then with the shutter button pressed halfway recompose the image, press the shutter button the rest of the way to take the picture.
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