My photo
... is a freelance photographer working in Middle Georgia

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Using Backlight

Alex commented on my mushroom post asking about shooting with backlight. Backlight can be tricky to work with. If you don't expose correctly, you get a silhouette.

These pictures of the politician were shot with very strong backlight. For the vertical I shot manually, and compensated for the backlight with my exposure.If I had shot on an auto exposure mode the meter would have been fooled by the bright light behind my subject. I opened up the lens aperture to get more exposure on his face.

This washes out the background because of the difference in the light behind and in front.

For the horizontal, I wanted to keep the background, so I shot with a flash to light his face and balanced the aperture and shutter speed to properly expose the background.

Shooting on manual gives you the control you need to make this work. With a digital camera you can chimp your way to success, checking your exposure to be sure you got it.

Strong backlight gives your subject a nice rim light, and blows the background away. More subtle backlight gives you a halo of light around your subject that separates them from the background.
If you are really serious about learning photography, I encourage you to shoot a lot more manually than on auto. And pay attention to the light as you shoot, and to the results.


MSF said...

Wow, I had never thought of using a flash to expose the foreground and background with a strong backlight... then again, I've never had to do it that often - so that might be part of the reason why.

Still, it's a nice trick.

Alex H. said...

Thanks for the all the info. Going to have to go out and experiment now :)

TwilightCompanion said...

Yet another trick I need to work on.. Great tips! Thank you!!

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