Technology changes with time, but the fundamentals and recipes in photography remains. This article was first published in 2006, revised in 2018
There is a reason why many photographers choose to shoot only during certain hours which is popularly known as the golden light period. This period is usually in the early sunny morning and late sunny afternoon when the quality of light is good and not harsh. At the same time, one will also have many opportunities to experience a lighting phenomena call “Backlight”.
Backlighting is a technique which many photographers like to adopt for their shots, be it for portraits, floral shots, still life etc. It is not hard to find many award winning shots which have elements of backlighting and this is why many serious photographers would grab every opportunity to take pictures in an early sunny morning or late afternoon. They can also make use of the studio strobe lights in a studio to create the backlighting effect. Outdoor backlighting is beyond the control of the photographers as they cannot control the lighting from the sun. A cloudy day will certainly spoil the day.
No special lenses are needed to capture the backlighting effect. The handphone camera with its Program mode is able to do the job well outdoor. But of course, the Digital SLRs and Mirrorless cameras provide the photographers with more options to play with, such as the higher range of ISO and wider range of aperture amongst others.
One main problem would probably be camera shake due to shutter speed slower than 1/(focal length). In this case, you may have to consider using a higher ISO and a bigger aperture to get you a faster shutter speed to minimize camera shake.
The below shall serve as a useful guide to aid you.
The ingredients for getting good shots with backlighting:
- The best time to get good backlighting will be early morning or late evening on a sunny and non-cloudy day. The quality of light is at its optimum during this period known as the golden light period.
- It is important to have a prominent main subject. Every picture should have a main subject and you can execute the backlighting technique on the subject.
- Choose a darker background so that the backlight effect on the subject can stand out.
- The light must come from the back of the subject.
- Use a lens hood to help minimize lens flare.
No doubt these simple tips look so simple; it can be a challenge to spot the main subject and the angle with which to execute the backlighting. It is good to look at more pictures where this technique is executed and analyze how the photographers choose their main subject and angle.
With the above in mind, you can use this technique and begin your quest for the backlit shot.Views: 1962