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Shooting Tip: Exposing For The Outside While Taking The Shot On The Inside

Lawyer Headshot in Downtown Raleigh In Front of Window
The man pictured above was photographed in front of a window on the 11th floor of an office building in Downtown Raleigh, but you can still see the outside building without it being too dark or too light.

Although I mention High Speed Sync below, it is NOT always necessary. I shot this with a studio strobe that does not have a High Speed Sync option. High speed sync is nice when you don't want to worry about sync speeds conflicting with your shot.

This is how you do it and it's as easy as 1, 2, 3................

1...Expose for the OUTSIDE not the inside...
The problem with exposing for the outside is that you may need High Speed Sync to pull the shot off if the outside exposure based on your ISO and F/stop settings exceeds your camera sync speed. Hint: Start with the ISO at 100 then change as needed.

2...Set the Camera on AV mode...
When the camera is on AV mode, you can choose your F/stop and the camera sets the shutter speed. That's why High Speed Sync as previously mentioned may be important. You don't want to have to worry about sync.

3...The inside light balances with the outside light...
The trick is to get 1 and 2 above all set then make sure the inside light you are using whether speedlite or strobe then balances out the subject with the setting you have in place for the outside. For example, if your settings are 100ISO @F/5.6 @1/125th, you simply have to make sure the inside light fills in the subject. TTL and High Speed Sync (if needed) makes it a little faster, but if a studio strobe will work, it's just a matter of adjusting the power until the subject looks exposed properly.

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David Williams

Short Bio About The Author: I'm David Williams a professional commercial photographer focusing on corporate and business clients with some personal branding, lifestyle photography in the mix. My love for photography began in late 1981 while still in High School. I started making money with his camera in 1982. Brenda, my wife, and I started working together in photography in 1988 shortly after we met. Brenda and I married in 1989 and have two adult daughters. Please be sure to get a quote for services if needed. Call or Text: 919.723.8453. Please reach out to connect with me on LinkedIn.