A Clarification on our ‘Back Lit’ Assignment

A proper exposure of Queen Elizabeth II, left, and a straight matrix meter exposure, right. For a back lit subject, you must get in close and meter for your subject's face. Note all of the nice 'rim light' created by the back lighting. (Copyright 2011 / Andrew Boyd)

A proper exposure of Queen Elizabeth II, left, and a straight matrix meter exposure, right. For a back lit subject, you must get in close and meter for your subject's face. Note all of the nice 'rim light' created by the back lighting. (Copyright 2011 / Andrew Boyd)

Looking at the small selection of images submitted for our ‘Back Lit’ assignment, I have to conclude that this was not a crowd pleaser (!)…but I also think I should have included a bit more explanation in the original assignment. Because implicit in the notion of a back lit photo is the idea that you have to have something in the foreground that’s being back lit.

I’m using our little solar-powered Queen Elizabeth doll to illustrate this point. (Her hand waves, powered by a tiny solar cell in her purse. Very cool.) In the left hand version above, I’ve taken a meter reading in tight on her face to get the proper exposure, then backed up, composed, and shot the photo. The version on the right shows what I would have gotten simply taken a matrix metered ‘straight’ exposure of the scene.

I hinted in the original assignment description that the exposure might be a bit tricky due to the need to balance foreground/background exposure, and this is what I was referring to.

Anyway, we’ll see if any of you bums decide to submit anything else….right. Just kidding!

Hi, I’m Andrew Boyd, a.k.a. The Discerning Photographer, and I hope this post has been interesting and informative. Please leave me a comment about it, let me know what you’d like to see more of on the site! You can also sign up for email delivery of all future articles or my RSS feed. Or subscribe to our Facebook page or our Twitter feed. Thanks!–DiscerningPhotog

Posted in: Gallery

About the Author:

Photographer, videographer and photo editor. Host and creator of The Discerning Photographer web site. Currently a Canon shooter.

2 Comments on "A Clarification on our ‘Back Lit’ Assignment"

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  1. Enivea says:

    Point taken Andrew, I’ll try and give it a go 🙂 I think the clarification and examples are great – and yes, pretty cool model!

  2. Thanks Enivea! Can’t wait to see what you come up with, you’ve had some really nice Flickr submissions lately.

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