I am beginner and trying to learn photography. I am having a hard time clicking pictures outside. Some time they come out really well when I am in full sun and light is falling on my subject but in situations where I the subject is in shadow and the background is brightly lit behind it I am always getting dark subjects, even with flash.

As I am taking the picture from a distance, maybe the flash is not strong enough? Is there any advice you guys can give me to fix this? Here is a sample image

enter image description here


Ty a different angle or shoot away from the tree. Also, if you know how to use manual mode, you can choose a low ISO (100) and 1/60 Shutter Speed. The lower the ISO, the more light can come in, also, 100 ISO is good for shooting in daylight. Whenever I shoot in daylight, I just use 5.6 Aperture and I just change all the other settings. Anyway, hope this helps.


From a beginners perspective, it is very important to understand the following Metering modes. These will help you get correct exposure.

Matrix/Evaluative - this is appropriate for standard shooting conditions. Your camera will divide the image in several zones for metering and evaluate the position of the subject with the brightness, the direct light, and the backlighting. It then adjusts the settings to the correct exposure for the main subject. The downside to this is; sometimes it gets the subject wrong and exposes correctly for the part of the image that is not the main subject. I.E, the background

Centre Weighted - in some ways, this is similar to Evaluative but gives greater weight to the subject in the middle of the frame. As a result, the image will be correctly exposed in the middle, but not necessarily your subject, or all of your subject.

Spot Metering - This option allows the camera to meter the area within the spot AE point frame. in most cameras, this will generally be the centre of the frame, but some cameras do allow for the point to be moved around the frame. if they don’t, you have the option of pointing your camera to the subject, half pressing or AE lock to hold the Exposure, and then recompose and press shutter all the way.

This option will ensure that your subject is correctly exposed. The downside is that the brighter areas will get even brighter and the highlights may get blown. I.E, a very white and blown out background!

With regards to flash; if your camera is set to Auto mode, and you have the flash popped up or attached, the Automatic flash setting will still see the ambient light as an extreme source of light and may not trigger, or if it does, it may not fire with enough power to light up your subject.

However, in other modes such a Program AE or (TV)shutter Value/(AV)Aperture value/ priority Modes, your camera should provide you with the option of Flash compensation where you can increase the power of the flash in small increments until the desired result has been reached.

The benefit of this is that you will be able to keep the detail of the background and also correctly expose for the foreground subjects.

Sometimes, you will find that the on board flash is not powerful enough even at the full maximum setting due to its size and power output to combat the ambient light and therefore, it may be time to consider an external flash, perhaps one that you can also use wirelessly and position closer to your subjects.

Other areas that will also help, will be to study the following links

I tried to use the "Sunny 16 rule" but it didn't work, why?

What flash guide number do I need to underexpose a "sunny" background?

  • Spot meter is the most easy thing to do. Center the the camera to the main part of the image, hold the exposure and move back to the desired frame, click. Apr 21 '20 at 13:38

That is a real tough situation, some of it in dark shade, and some of it in bright sunlight. But the camera can only be set to one exposure setting, it cannot be right for both. So you might choose to expose for the shade, and let the bright sun burn out. Or vice versa, as here, the automation choose the sun, and the shade went dark.

I would choose flash for this foreground, but flash is only the proper exposure at one distance, so it's a compromise. It needs a larger hotshoe flash, larger than the camera's tiny built in flash. Sometimes a large reflector can help to direct sunlight into the shade, but this is a pretty big area for that.

If shooting raw, you could just boost the exposure of this one a couple of stops now (afterwards), and maybe crop out the brightest area at the top.

If using camera automation, it is surely the best thing to simply just realize the problem, and then just choose your picture better, choose one that you can reasonably take ... i.e., think about this before you click the shutter. Or at least after you see the LCD result. It doesn't take many of these to cause us to think about it. :) Soon it is just called "experience". Here, you could simply aim the camera down more to exclude the bright area, letting the automation optimize the exposure in the shade. Standing higher could aid doing that.

Or maybe you could stand on the far side, and shoot back into the shade instead of into the sun. But you did say a tree, maybe that would not be different? Tree shade is good stuff for portraits, but then place the subject out at the tree line in brighter shade, not back in the deepest shade part.

  • Thanks, as distance is far i don't think flash will help. In my camera with TAv and Av Mode picture does come bright but it will have too much noise.
    – Akshay
    Nov 9 '15 at 12:39
  1. use ND Filter.

If I stand in bright daylight and I need to take a picture .. I just put my nd filter to darken the place so I could get slower shutter speed (1/200-1/250). Then I prepare the off cam flash, I put it nearby the subject.

  1. Using reflector. it always work well ...

  2. increase the exposure...

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