How to Balance Background and Foreground Light in Photography

How to Balance Background and Foreground Light in Photography

Have you ever taken a picture with a flash and had the background go completely dark? Well, today’s tip is about balancing foreground and background shooting with a flash indoor.

So how come your indoor flash photos don’t look exactly like you want them to? Well the camera has an amazing technology built into it, but it can’t possibly know what you’re thinking!

Manual Mode

The first step is to take full control by going into manual mode on your camera, that way you dictate exactly what you want, and tell the camera how you want the picture to look.

Aperture, Shutter Speed and ISO

You probably know there are three main settings that affect the exposure of your final image, aperture, shutter speed, and ISO. Let’s say we’re doing a group shot indoors, we want everybody to be in focus, so we’ll probably have our aperture in the middle somewhere around f/8. Also we want the noise of our image to be as low as possible so our ISO will be down around 200, so the last part is your shutter speed, your instinct might be to keep it relatively high, so you don’t get any motion blur in your picture. The auto modes on a lot of point and shoot cameras are going to do the same thing, the problem with that, is your background will tend to go really dark because you just don’t have enough light coming into the camera at that point.

Slow Down Your Shutter Speed

So the key here is to slow down your shutter speed to bring in more ambient light into your background. The light that’s hitting your subject from the flash won’t change at all, and as long as you’re far enough away from the background the light won’t travel far enough to affect that exposure.

So now that you’ve got a slower shutter speed, you might find that you have some motion blur in the background. It’s really no big deal at all, because the light from the flash is going to freeze your subject. Once you’re dialed in on manual, you can just shoot away and forget all the technical stuff.

So remember.. take control of the ratio of light between the foreground and the background, and give your pictures a sense of place that they wouldn’t have otherwise!

Do you have any other information about this tip? Left your ideas and questions in the comments section below! and please don’t forget to follow on Twitter @kuulphoto


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