Monday, October 1, 2007
Power To The Background
The background can be just as important as the foreground.
This type of picture often looks better underexposed by about one stop, hinting as it does of a shaded subject. If contrast remains excessive, use a white reflector (silver or gold can be too harsh) to redirect some light onto the subject, taking care not to overlight it.
Use your camera’s depth-of-field preview to determine how sharp the background will be. Generally, I use a much wider aperture than I would if framing a close-up for maximum detail.
It’s sometimes wise to back off and sacrifice some magnification for the sake of more depth of field. Keep a low angle to reduce interference from unwanted vegetation just behind the subject.
Shooting this type of picture into the light presents other challenges. Firstly, the contrast will be considerably greater as you’re looking toward the sun. It’s also harder to set up a good contrast between warm and cool tones. What you can exploit, however, is the sun’s own brilliance.
A setting or rising sun may itself feature in the background (a 200mm macro provides an ideal amount of magnification for this), but you’ll need to make your compositions and exposures quickly, as it’s astonishing how quickly the subject moves relative to the sun, especially early and late in the day.
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