Learn How to Use Backlight in Photography

October 14, 2010

in Lighting, Photography Tips, Photography Tutorials

Learn How to Use Backlight in Photography

Today we are learning how to use and love backlight in photos!

Are you one of those photographers who fear the sun? I mean downright gets the shakes to even fathom shooting someone in it?

Fear not any longer my friends. Backlight is beautiful. It’s magical. It adds that little something extra that makes your image more than an aww that’s cute image, but a WOW that rocks, image. It means having to step into the light.

A couple things that get me by when shooting backlight…
-Try different angles
-Embrace Haze and Lens flare
-Block the sun
-Use a reflector

As long as the sun isn’t at high noon (meaning straight above you or your subjects head) you can work with:

Angles. Position your subject facing away from the sun. The best times for working with backlight is right after sunrise or right before sunset. The sun is angled nicely so it hits the back of your subjects head and not the top. But it can be done at other times.

This image was taken at around 10am.
Learn How to Use Backlight in Photography via I Heart Faces

This image was taken about 4 in the afternoon.
Learn How to Use Backlight in Photography via I Heart Faces

If the shot isn’t working try a different angle or take one step to the side. It might fix your problems.

In the top image she was about to smooch a big sun face.

I then took one big step to my left and the sun was hidden partly (enough) by his head to get the shot.
Learn How to Use Backlight in Photography via I Heart Faces

Haze. Love it. Hold onto it. Squeeze it as tight as you can. Sometimes (almost 99% of the time for me) haze adds to the mood of the shot. Don’t feel you have to go and add tons of contrast to get rid of it.
Learn How to Use Backlight in Photography via I Heart Faces
Learn How to Use Backlight in Photography via I Heart Faces

Lens Flare. Again, don’t fear this. It’s natural and its fun.
Learn How to Use Backlight in Photography via I Heart Faces
Learn How to Use Backlight in Photography via I Heart Faces

Partially block the sun. With a building, tree, whatever. You can get beautiful sun rays as a result.

Learn How to Use Backlight in Photography via I Heart Faces

Reflector. Pull it out and it can add light to the subjects face and eliminate haze.
Learn How to Use Backlight in Photography via I Heart Faces
Learn How to Use Backlight in Photography via I Heart Faces

Dark Background. Last piece of advice: place your subject against a dark background and you will get beautiful hair light.
Learn How to Use Backlight in Photography via I Heart Faces

ps: Focus can be difficult. Find a hard line on the face or eyes to focus on. And if all else fails, manual focus.

Get out there and stick that sun behind your subject. You never know what you could get.

Happy Shooting!

 

Becky Earl is a hobbyist photographer, but more importantly a wife and mother to three beautiful children. Becky loves to create ART in her spare time (aka when the kids are busy) and loves learning new things about photography (aka when the hubby is busy). She offers Blog Your ART Templates at an affordable price to photographers who want to spice up the look of their blog. You can find her hanging out on her blog THE BLOG , Facebook and Twitter.

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