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Author Topic: Backlit using the Sun, with Fill flash in front, question!!!!  (Read 563 times)


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Hi guys. I am confused about a certain look I am going for. I am talking about this look here

She is backlit using the sun with flash somewhere in the image providing a fill. Now i saw the behind the scenes of this shoot. The picture was shot by norman jean roy, who is famous for mixing natural light with a hint of strobe. In the behind the scenes he is using a elinchrom 74 octabank which produces a large soft even light. Cool. I got that part. But when doing this look in particular, the highlights are intentionally overexposed. Got it. So, does this mean that I meter for the shadows (face) and adjust my strobe to that meter reading? Or would I get my shadow reading and maybe adjust the power of my strobe a stop down from that shadow reading, so get a more natural look? I dont want the front to look like its flash. I want it to look natural. I saw some youtube tutorials but they dont really look like this. Sorry i know this sounds confusing. Thanks for the help!  :) Behind the scenes video below.



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Re: Backlit using the Sun, with Fill flash in front, question!!!!
« Reply #1 on: April 21, 2017, 03:03:11 PM »

There's not much natural to the shot you link to, but in a mixed lighting condition where you want it to feel natural I would suggest setting up a tethering laptop if you don't want to rely on the LCD on the back of your camera and experiment instead with your settings and strobe power.

To get a more natural look you need to light it more from where the natural light is coming from. Setting up a strobe at the complete opposite direction from the ambient light source can be cool for certain commercial looks or where you want to really make something stand out, but I wouldn't call it natural.


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    • Nemo Niemann Photography
Re: Backlit using the Sun, with Fill flash in front, question!!!!
« Reply #2 on: April 23, 2017, 01:55:44 PM »

As a fashion shooter, I nearly always use a "micro-pop" of strobe fill on my backlit shots. The more lifestyle shot, I just open my exposure, but some of my clients want me to hold more of the background,s I'll often pull out my strobes since so many models have problems with reflectors.

I always meter the shadow, under the chin then open up 1/2 to 1 stop, depending upon the garments and background. For my strobe, it depends on whether I use my Elinchrom ELB400 or the PhottixIndra I currently own or even a simple speedlight. I usually use the first two with 27" or 38" octo box or even a beauty dish. My purpose is usually to mimick a natural fill rather than over power the sun. Essentially it's a beauty shot. So, metering with current meters is tough if you are using HS or HSS strobe. (I ordered the new Sekonic L-858 which supposedly will meter these strobes.) Anyway, if metering at your max normal, you only want a lower power fill. It shouldn't affect your ambient more than a tenth or two. I like my exposures on the light side - clean. Another poster mentioned tethering. Personally, I hate tethering on location. It's cumbersome. I never tether on location because it limits me, though I will in the studio. You need a good assistant -- really multiple -- if you tether on location. I always have 3 on a shoot. 2 on site, and one acting as tech in the RV. The key is really becoming adept at using your hand-held meter and reading the histogram on the back of the camera and buy a loupe from Hoodman and so you can see the LCD to check yourself. You can look at my Instagram page to some bts shots from a recent shoot @nemoniemannphotography
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