It's very common to end up with images that have a very bright background and a dark foreground due to an overpowering sun and/or not well lit foreground.  An image can have its composition greatly upgraded to "interesting" and possibly "unusual" simply by balancing the light in the foreground and background.

In the past we've talked about using HDR, ND filters, and other techniques to accomplish the balance.  However, the very best way to achieve balanced exposures is simply to capture them that way.  This will involve keeping your eyes open and gaining some experience in reading the scene so you don't miss such opportunities.


Chotika Riverfront Hotel in Samut Songkran

An outside passageway that runs under an awning


As you look down an aisle or corridor try to visually estimate if the background light at the very end is balanced with the interior.  It would be like taking a picture inside an apartment, looking out the window, and trying to make this capture when the room lights are balanced with the outdoor sun.  This isn't hard to do, but it does involve waiting until the sun is mostly gone for the day and using a long exposure.  You can do the same with an outdoor situation.  The use of a tripod and longer shutter speeds are often necessary.


A view of the river is possible from every room at the Chotika Hotel

A covered outside event area


Sometimes the light from the background can 'come in' to the foreground because of the direction.  It's very easy to walk past such shots, but if you are actively looking for these opportunities you'll find them more often than you think you might.


Lumber yard in Samut Songkran Thailand

Inside a lumber mill, lit by a skylight


Directional light from transparent roofs, skylights, and the such can come into an otherwise dark scene and make for a very interesting capture.

It takes a great deal of experience to "see" these sort of shots, but they present themselves often enough that you shouldn't have any trouble finding them several times on a typical outing.  They key is to actively seek out such photo ops.


A family store on the klong

A family store on the klong


You can also 'stretch' these opportunities of light by increasing the exposure time well past what you would normally use which will require the use of a tripod and the use of ND filters,  And of course you can always resort to bracketing your exposures for HDR and blending techniques, but don't you agree these naturally balanced scenes are much nicer than the ones you force?