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How to Control Foreground and Background Exposures

by Topher Kelly
photo & video

Screen Shot 2014-01-31 at 3.54.01 PM

Screenshot from Joe’s tutorial on AdoramaTV

There’s a lot to consider when honing in on the perfect exposure for your image. It’s one thing to understand how exposure works in theory, but once you are out there in the field, it’s a whole new ballgame. There are a long list of elements to consider while on location including the state and position of your lighting. Professional photographers like Scott Robert Lim will be the first to tell you that the best way to overcome on-location complications is simply to “practice, practice, practice,” but another helpful process is watching others explain how they shot an image in a particular environment.

One of the industry’s most inspiring artists, Joe McNally, does just that in the Adorama TV segment below. What makes this clip so interesting is not necessarily how Joe explains how to properly expose the foreground of an image to gain control over the exposure of the background, but what gear he uses accomplish the shot. Joe used a maxi spot long throw reflector to send his light the great distance between camera and subject. Check out why — and learn more from Joe — below:

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Topher Kelly

Topher Kelly is a San Francisco-based freelance writer and editor at CreativeLive. Follow Topher on Twitter@Topher_LIVE.