Back lighting tip with flower imagery

Back lighting tip with flower imagery

Photo tip: back lighting your image

This is a series of photography tips that I am introducing weekly on my photo blog to help you with a new focused tip to work to master your camera and photography. Today our focus is on back lighting your subject.   Back light happens when the sun or some lighting source is directly in front of you and lights up the subject from behind.  Great effects can be created with translucent imagery like flowers which are delicate, thin and creates a glowing effect like the image above. The overall image is brighter and more dynamic with a darker background that make the subject pop.  Just make sure when you try this technique that you avoid any glare or flare-ups occurring to your camera lens and distracts from the overall image. But. you can also choose to break the rules and include those flares in a creative way that adds to the overall composition.



Keep the background imagery very simple and even blurry with a short depth of field by changing your aperture to any of the smaller setting on your dial. Creating a sharp focus on your subject with a soft background brings out the best highlight features in back lighting and beautiful lighting accents. If you do not have a DSLR, many point and shoot cameras have special camera modes, just find the correct option that lets you choose close up or smaller depth of field mode.



Consider how you want to present your foreground image. Do you want to create a tight study or a larger panoramic shot? There are many options to back lighting and how it creates an overall impact and composition depending on how you want present your subject. In the photograph below the skyline ends up in a silhouette when the sunrise comes up behind the cityscape in the foreground. When the time frame for shooting your subject is limited like the image below, move quickly and try to find different angles or ways to present your subject when the lighting keeps changing. There maybe a golden opportunity if you wait for just the right moment to happen and when it does, make sure you have your camera ready to shoot and capture that moment.



San Francisco sunrise - a scenic Panorama

San Francisco sunrise – a scenic Panorama



Consider how you can compose your image when it is being back-lit because there is a higher potential of the imagery having flares or sharp unflattering light on your subject and projecting out into the composition. Move your camera around and try different angles so you can capture the lighting well. As I mentioned above, you can also break rules and include the flares depending on how it adds to the overall imagery. The point is to experiment, take pictures in different and unexpected angles and you may find something that works really well with your subject.



Use a polarizing filter to decrease reflections and flares from the light source coming from behind the subject.  You can also work around this by walking around the subject to find a spot that is successful in blocking out unwanted flares and still high lighting your subject.


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