Backlit photography refers to any photography where the primary source of light is positioned behind the subject. This style is used mainly during summer and spring when the sun is brightest. With the primary source of light behind the subject, it also means that they won’t squint while shooting, which can ruin the photos. Many photographers use artificial lights to enhance the backlight effect, but you can also achieve that with natural light as long as you know the best practices. Here are some easy tips for shooting the perfect backlit photos.
Filter to reflect light
If you are shooting in a place with an extremely harsh backlight, you are more likely to end up with sun flares in your photos, and you don’t want that. Flares can be distracting as they indicate that harsh lighting is reaching the lens. You can use an umbrella or lens hood to filter out the intense light. You can also use the shade from tall trees to block the unnecessary light your sensor should not be receiving. In contrast, you can brighten up shadows with a reflector by holding it up facing the light and adjusting the angle to reflect the light on your subject.
Change your shooting position.
When shooting against the light, ensure you try to capture your subject from different positions. You don’t have to shoot facing the light. Understanding how the light works for you gives you the freedom to capture your subject from various perspectives. It can help you identify the best and most flattering shooting positions to use.
Understand spot meter
As you learn photography, you will come across something known as spot metering. The term spot means that this type of metering is only concerned with a small area that you can manually adjust in your camera’s AF points within the scene. It allows the camera to focus on a specific part of the frame, no matter how bright the rest of the frame is. It helps you identify the exposure adjustments you need to properly expose your subject, especially when the background is too dark, bright, or occupies a more significant part of the frame.
Identify the correct white balance.
Many people tend to ignore white balance when it comes to camera settings. But you should take time to adjust your camera’s white balance and know how it impacts the color balance of your photos. The white balance allows you to get the colors in your images as accurate as possible for more vivid images. The color temperatures range from cool which is more like the color of the blue skies, to a warm tone that resembles a burning candle.
Use fill flash
With intense light coming from the back, your subject may end up looking darker than the rest of the photo. But you can use flash lighting to remedy the parts where the natural light cannot get into. A fill flash supplements the existing backlight resulting in a better balance of the light on the subject and the background. You should also familiarize yourself with dramatic lighting photography techniques.
You may face some challenges, but practicing backlight photography can transform your perspective of intense natural light.
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