When it comes to photography we always want a perfect lighting. When there is a perfectly lit subject we are almost guaranteed to get a perfectly exposed shot. Yes, that’s true, but then what about the conditions where natural light is no in our favour? Does it mean that we don’t have a shot No, not at all, there is a special type of photography technique which you could make use, whenever you encounter a “not so good light” condition.
Assume that you are at the beach, and it’s a sunset time, now if you want to capture a shot while including the sea in your frame then definitely sun is opposite to the camera. That means your subject is lit from the back and the bright sun is facing you. If your camera is set to auto exposure mode then you are going to end up with an underexposed image. This is where the backlit photography comes into action.
By definition, the backlit condition is, when the source of your light is facing the camera. Unlike other types of photography its kind of tricky to set the proper exposure here. I generally go for manual exposure in these situations as I am able to control the exposure as I want. Semi-automatic modes in camera generally get confused here. Also with backlit photography sometimes you need an underexposed image and sometimes an overexposed one. Generally, camera’s exposure control sees a bright light falling on the lens, so it will restrict the aperture or the shutter speed to reduce the light and you will end up with a picture with a lot of shadows.
Now the question is what kind of shots you can take in a backlit setup? Check the following examples and the corresponding comments.
What you think? interesting? Yes, it’s very creative shooting technique. Whenever you do backlit photography pay attention to following points.
- Focus carefully, because of underlit conditions camera’s autofocus might miss the intended focus point. I feel right focus may be the trickiest part if you are doing portraits.
- Strongly recommend manual exposure as most of the times camera will go wrong with auto exposure. If you must use semi-auto then try the ‘spot metering’ on your subject. You may also try ‘exposure lock’ if your camera supports it.
- Always check the sun’s position, include the sun only if it is really required. If the sun is included mostly you are going to end up with a silhouette. So try to avoid the sun in the frame.
- Many times you might have to overexpose the background in order the properly expose your subject and that is perfectly fine.
- If you have a lens hood, try using it during backlit shooting, this is done basically to avoid the direct sunlight on the lens.
- Shoot raw, because there is very strong chance that you will do a lot of edits later.
- Your black and white photography can take great advantage of backlit photography.
Well, that’s all for the week guys. Hope you liked this post. Now let’s see your backlit images.
Please make sure to check out my earlier sessions here.
- Post at least one or two pictures you have taken with your camera (raw or jpg) and corresponding edits you were able to do. Fresh or existing images are fine. Apply all the things we learnt in the previous sessions.
- Let me know type of camera(mobile, DSLR, point and shoot)
- Try to put EXIF data (shutter speed, aperture, ISO) so that I can comment better.
- Add a tag ‘XDrivePhoto’.
- Add a pingback to this post. (Basically, copy the URL of this post, and paste to your post. (Anywhere)
- Title the post as “XDrive Photography Learning – 15 – Backlit Photography.”
Your ping-backs may not appear immediately as I have to enable them later. I will check your post, and I will comment on your post itself. I will post selected contribution links to this post later so that others can also see and learn from them. (Please note there is no time limit for your contributions, you can post them anytime, I will respond to them as you contribute. You can also make more than one contribution to the same topic)
Although these lessons are geared towards newbies, expert photographers also welcomed heartily. I need to learn too! There are no teachers here everyone is learning.
Cheers and Happy clicking!