Tip of the Day – Highlight detail

Tip of the Day – Highlight detail

Image 5 of 5 of Scully’s Session in the series Creating variety in your pet photography sessions

It’s “before and after” Friday again!

When shooting with backlight, in most cases it’s a good idea to deliberately under-expose the image – not completely – just so you aren’t “blowing out” or “clipping” the bright areas of the photo as much.

This is fairly straightforward to do if you are shooting with manual exposure. If you’re shooting on an automatic exposure mode such as aperture or shutter speed priority however, you’ll need to dial in some exposure compensation. Keep in mind though, the results may be inconsistent between shots if your framing or angle changes, as your camera may decide to change the exposure.

For this reason I always recommend shooting in manual exposure, especially in tricky lighting situations like backlighting, as it gives you much more control and consistent results.

So why underexpose?

When editing the image, it’s much easier to get detail back from underexposed areas, than to be left with large areas of the image where the highlights are completely blown out with no detail.

Check out the before and after to see just how much this image was brightened up in the editing stage. I deliberately under-exposed, aiming to try and keep as much detail in the bright background and rim light on the edges of Scully’s white fur and knowing that I would be able to fill the shadows with light when editing in Lightroom.

P.S. For those of you into off camera flash – this is a situation where it would have worked really well to add a pop of light onto the dog and reduce the amount of editing involved.

Canon EOS 1D X, Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II @ 140mm, ISO 1250, 1/640 sec, f/2.8

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Still keen to improve your pet photography?

Check out Fetching Photos and Dog Shots – two e-books specifically about photographing dogs outdoors in natural light. I also offer private one-on-one mentoring in pet photography shooting and editing.

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