I am new to photography and use a Nikon D5100 and a 55-300mm lens. I have tried different modes, but mostly shoot in Manual mode.

I was trying to photograph a person inside a car in daylight but because of the daylight the person in the car is too dark.
How do I take pictures such that the focus in the photo lies on the person in the car? Such that the person is highlighted?

I am not permitted to arrange a flash in the car for some reason.

Please suggest exposure settings and maybe some online resources on how to deal with these kind of situations.

  • 2
    when you say "not clear" is the subject blurry, too dark, both? or something else?
    – MikeW
    Nov 14 '13 at 3:07
  • 2
    Is the car moving?
    – mattdm
    Nov 14 '13 at 3:12
  • 3
    And when you say "I can't arrange a flash for some reason", do you mean that you can't figure out how to, or don't want to, or aren't permitted to?
    – mattdm
    Nov 14 '13 at 3:13
  • @mattdm : no car is not moving
    – Imposter
    Nov 14 '13 at 3:46
  • 3
    An example image would be just fantastic.
    – dpollitt
    Nov 14 '13 at 3:53

I would use the auto bracketing functionality of the Nikon D5100, then use exposure fusion to combine the exposures. More information can be found on this topic here: How does exposure fusion work?

Alternatively if the dynamic range is not that great, you could simply use post processing to dodge(lighten) the person in the car. This is very simple to do with a tool like Photoshop or GIMP.

Finally, if the person in the car really is the subject of the image, there is no reason why you can't overexpose the rest of the image to properly expose the person. You could achieve this by any of the following:

  • Push up exposure compensation to +1 or +2
  • Select a longer shutter speed
  • Select a larger aperture
  • Select a higher ISO
  • Select spot metering mode and spot on the person
  • to overexpose the rest of the image why not just use spot metering on the person?
    – redreggae
    Nov 14 '13 at 12:50
  • @redreggae - I'll add that as an option. You can achieve this MANY ways! I do consider changing the metering mode to be a bit more difficult for the less experts!
    – dpollitt
    Nov 14 '13 at 14:28

Reflections on the glass will make this shot a difficult one. I'm suggesting to use a polarizing filter to reduce reflections on the car window, but you'll also need to add exposure compensation up, because the outside is very much brighter than the inside of the car.

If you don't have a polarizing filter, you need to move to such position and angle that the reflections are not too distractive. Composition-wise this might be quite a limitation.

  • Its not clear if the OP wants to shoot through glass or not, but id agree that a polarising filter is one essential filter for everyone. Nov 14 '13 at 17:22

You can use the HDR technique. I guess it might not be a new name for you however a quick guide can be found here

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