Backlit snapshot

I’d like to ask your help with this family snapshot. It was taken with the camera’s built-in flash, which of course could not provide enough light to balance the backlight. I don’t feel I was able to process it well with darktable, despite several tries. The problem is that the shadow and the bright background are not well separated spacially, there’s haze in the background, and the clouds are overexposed.
Looking mostly for darktable solutions, but all are welcome.

JPG thumbnail from camera:

2020-06-01_16-43-35_DSC_0252.NEF (21.1 MB)

This file is licensed Creative Commons, By-Attribution, Share-Alike.


fast editing on laptop

global tonemap is once again the module of my choice :smiley:

Backlit snapshot_2020-06-01_16-43-35_DSC_0252.NEF.xmp (12.4 KB)

Thanks for the attempt. Nice work on the clouds (by dropping exposure in darktable, I can see that there’s plenty of detail). The rest, to me, looks unrealistic, as if we’d been ‘Photoshopped’ there. The tops of the pines (most apparent to me on the left) are much darker than the lower branches, I guess that’s haloing from the tone mapping.

My darktable attempt:

A few clicks in Filmulator (also has the haloing on the tree tops):


yes…the balance is not yet properly present.

tomorrow on my computer I make a “long edited version” :smiley:

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@kofa Although I’m from RT, try a gradient filter and some HDR:

Thanks for posting, I’m looking forward to what others achieve.

I suppose my next step would be to use masks, particularly for the lady on the left, but this was a quick edit.

2020-06-01_16-43-35_DSC_0252.NEF.xmp (10.1 KB)

Was rather difficult for me …

2020-06-01_16-43-35_DSC_0252_01.NEF.xmp (19.8 KB)


2020-06-01_16-43-35_DSC_0252.NEF.xmp (17.6 KB)

Thanks for the efforts, everyone. I’m kind of glad it was not simply me overlooking some trivial step. Although, I have to admit, you’re way faster than I was.
It’s interesting to see how different people handle the scene. I may have been better off without the flash, leaving the foreground darker, making masking (whether manually or via tone EQ) easier, but I’m not sure (there are spots with direct sunlight even in the shade – is that ‘pocket of light’ in English? ‘dappled light’?).

2020-06-01_16-43-35_DSC_0252.NEF.xmp (13,2 KB)

Yes, this is a bit like a brighter version of the JPG preview, but look at the clouds: pretty much all detail is lost. The family and the field are well exposed, though.

Hi @kofa,
this is my attempt :wink: I think the exposure mask needs some work on the feet of the lady and the fence.

DT 3.4.1

2020-06-01_16-43-35_DSC_0252.NEF.xmp (14.5 KB)

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good morning

here is my “long edited version”

also here i lose too much details with the module filmic and it looks waxy (my opinion).
global tonemap is still my favorite to lighten shadows :smiley:

Backlit snapshot__2020-06-01_16-43-35_DSC_0252.NEF.xmp (15.0 KB)

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I know, it’s by choice. All the attempts of saving the clouds came out unnatural and I evaluated that masking them was not worth the effort.

backlit.snapshot.pp3 (16.4 KB) RawTherapee 5.8-2889-g7f46fd817

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2020-06-01_16-43-35_DSC_0252.NEF.xmp (12.0 KB)

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Thanks for posting, I tried to keep the colors/contrast as natural as possible
dt 3.4.1

2020-06-01_16-43-35_DSC_0252.NEF.xmp (50.5 KB)

In search for a more contrasty “natural” look (including details in the clouds), my second attempt.

2020-06-01_16-43-35_DSC_0252.NEF.xmp (16.9 KB)


My RT version

2020-06-01_16-43-35_DSC_0252.jpg.out.pp3 (14.1 KB)