Learn how to Optimize the Panasonic G1/GH1 for backlight scenes in this digital Photography tutorial from LBGuides.
Tags:Panasonic G1/GH1 - Backlight,backlight,Better Pictures,camera setup,digital camera guide,digital camera tutorial,Digital Photography,g1,gh1,panasonic
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Setting up the camera for backlit subjects is really quite easy. There are couples of things you can do. One thing you can do is use the flash to illuminate the subject and then hopefully both the subject and the background will be properly exposed. The other thing you can do is properly expose it for the background without using any flash. That way you’ll get a very dark silhouette in the foreground. Finally, you can properly expose for the subject in the foreground and the background will be overexposed.
So to use the flash, just pop the flash back here. You have to force the flash. So in order to do that, press the quick menu button up here. Use either the right or left navigation button or the dial in the front to move the selection to the flash icon. And now, move up and down to choose forced flash on. With the flash forced, regardless of how much light the camera sees it’ll always use the flash. And that’s what you need to illuminate the subject in the foreground.
So preset, remember just like with any picture make sure your ISO and white balance are properly set. Press the ISO button right over here. Go down to 100. You want to choose 100 because you want to limit the camera’s sensitivity to the ambient amount of light coming from behind the subject. So press set then press the WB button to choose your white balance and because you’re using the flash to illuminate the subject, you want to choose the flash white balance option. So move over, choose flash white balance then press set.
Now, with the white balance and ISO properly set, I can go ahead and take this picture as I would any other. Place your focusing brackets over the subject, press the shutter button halfway, focus on the target, recompose the image and then press the shutter button the rest of the way to take the picture. Depending on how much light is coming in from behind the subject this trick may or may not work.
If there is a tremendous amount of light coming from the behind the subject this probably won’t work and you won’t be able to get both the subject and the background properly exposed. With this camera, by using the flash you’re forcing a shutter speed of 160th of a second which is pretty slow for bright daylight.
So the other thing you can do is close the flash, change your metering mode to spot meter, press the quick menu button at the top and again, using the left or right navigation buttons or the dial up in the front to move the selection to the metering mode. Go up to select spot meter and press set. Now, you’ll notice a heavy plus sign right in the middle of my frame and this is the spot meter. Whenever I placed this spot over is what the camera will try to properly expose.
So for example, if I place it over something dark, the entire scene brightens up because I’m now exposing for that dark spot. Likewise, if I place it over something light the entire scene will darken down because now I’m exposing for that light spot. Because we’re exposing for a very dark object in front of the bright background you may need to increase the ISO in order to maintain a fast enough shutter speed so you can handhold the picture.
What I would recommend doing is focusing on your target, press the shutter button halfway and see what the shutter speed is set to. If you’re over 130th of a second, you should be just fine and especially considering we’re using an image stabilized lens. If it’s below 130th of a second and you may want to increase the ISO. Press the ISO button here, increase that to say 400 and press set and now you’re ready to go.
Now, the white balance because we’re not using the flash anymore is to be set to the ambient light. Press the WB button and if you’re indoors most of the light being cast on your subject is tungsten, you may want to go with Tungsten. This will make the light coming from behind the subject assuming its daylight, very blue. But at least the subject will be properly white balanced. If you are outdoors and your subject is in the shade with a bright background behind them then you can choose either shade, cloudy or daylight whichever you prefer. Go ahead and press set and now you’re ready to shoot. Same as before place your focusing brackets over the target, press the shutter button halfway, lock focus, recompose the image and now press the shutter button the rest of the way to take a picture.
Now, what if you do want that creative silhouette, meaning having the background properly exposed and your subject will just be a dark figure in the foreground? The way you can do that is by using the auto focus/auto exposure lock button. A default in the menu, this button is set up to only lock the auto exposure. And that’s exactly what we want for this situation. What you want to do is place your spot meter over the background, press and hold the AE lock button and then move to the subject, press the shutter button halfway and hold that and then recompose and take the picture.
Now, this can be a little bit complicated because you have to press and hold so many buttons. You can get around that very easily. Just press the menu button, go to the custom menu just press to the left. Go down one. Move back in to the right then go down to page two where it says AF/AE lock hold. By default this option is turned off. If you want to turn it on go into the right, go down to turn it on then press set. And set again to escape the menu. Now, you can just press this button once even after you release the button the exposure is still locked. In order to unlock it, all I do is just tap the button again.
So now, that I want to do is place the spot meter over what I want to have well exposed. Press the AE lock button, recomposed and focus by pressing the shutter button halfway. Now, I can recompose again and press the shutter button the rest of the way to take the picture. Remember, the only way to release the auto exposure lock is by pressing the button even after you’ve taken a picture you need to release it and then you can lock it again on a second picture.
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