top of page

The fine art of shooting against the Light. How to handle backlighting!

The very first rule of photography is that the sun should be behind the photographer and this is the rule that you should never really follow as you progress in photography. Generally, when you try to take a portrait with the sun shining on your subject's face, he/she is seldom able to keep the eyes in a comfortable position. On the other hand, if you reverse the positions, your eyes as a photographer, won't be uncomfortable as you hold the camera in front. Just be sure to have a lens hood for the lens to avoid stray light from entering the lens. You may use your hand or some other shade if you do not have a lens hood handy.

Sometimes one plans the shots intentionally against the light for the reasons mentioned above, otherwise, you may find a situation outdoors where you can't help with the direction of the light. And we can't restrict our photography just to scenes or situations which have the sun shining on them from behind the camera. we should be able to handle any situation be it in direct light or against the light. As a street photographer shooting different aspects of life as you see it, you can ignore a part of it just because the light is not "favourable " conventionally. One should be able to shoot and capture the essence of what one has seen or witnessed the way it existed and that's the whole beauty.


Photograph by Munish Khanna

For this advertising shoot of Blankets, strobes (studio lights) were used to illuminate the subject while the warm winter sunlight is acting as a hair/rim light. It's in a "Veranda" which is kind of an indoor area and the spot was picked up independent of the light. Once decided, the light was handled accordingly.

Photograph by Munish Khanna

A Golden reflector was used in this photograph to let the sunlight bounce back on the face.

Photograph by Munish Khanna

Shooting against the light lets your model be comfortable even under the strong sun and effectively play around with expressions.

Photograph by Munish Khanna

One may not always have the same kind of light when shooting two people together. While the light is falling on his face, she is absolutely against the light. Artificial light was used as a very weak fill.

Photograph by Munish Khanna

Around the Louvre museum in Paris, the two ladies are enjoying the summer sun. Shooting the photograph against the light, further enhances the feeling of warm sunlight. With modern sophisticated metering systems on new cameras, exposures are generally not a problem. The overall exposure is fine here and as required. The ladies are standing out more against the kind of overexposed grass and that's the intent.

Photograph by Munish Khanna

In one of the several fountains in Lisbon, Portugal, the water droplets are more pronounced as they are shot against the light. The Fountain structure by itself is almost a silhouette. One may not be able to shoot water droplets as effectively when the sunlight is falling directly on them. Like this, the water droplets are standing out against the darker background. A bit higher shutter speed would have further frozen the water drops.


Photograph by Munish Khanna

While shooting against the light one may choose to shoot with a small aperture to get the starburst effect. The sun needs to be aligned along an edge, a building or any other structure. starburst along with lens flare works quite well for this tram in Lisbon, Portugal.

Photograph by Munish Khanna

One shoots from where one sees the action, and you don't get enough time to change positions. As these skaters passed across me in El Retiro park, the instant reaction was to shoot and of course the warm golden evening light with long shadows has only been an added advantage here.


Photograph by Munish Khanna

Photograph by Munish Khanna

Photograph by Munish Khanna

Shooting against the light also lets you have long shadows, which in conjunction with a wide-angle lens are further exaggerated. As a compositional tool shadows help lead the eye to the main subject. If you are creating an over all mood of the photograph, there is no need to compensate the exposure for the main subject and you can let it go dark. However, if you are shooting for someone, take care to expose for the subject to be visible enough to be identified.

Photograph by Munish Khanna

When there is less light inside compared to outside, not much light is reflected back on the subject. Being strangers to me, it was fine to let them be silhouettes as they talk to each other. On the other hand, if it was the image of someone I knew or was shooting for them, I would have added an additional light source from inside, maybe a flash. A reflector is usually effective only if there is direct light falling on it. Shot on one of the top floors of the Eiffel tower in Paris.


Photograph by Munish Khanna

This lady in a small village near Kohima, Nagaland, was quite amused as I clicked this photograph with her cat. For them facing the camera is not a very common phenomenon.

Photograph by Munish Khanna

"Against the light" does not have to be restricted to humans. In this close shot of flower petals beside the deeply saturated colour the transparency is showing as it has been shot against the light.

Photograph by Munish Khanna

The fine detail and the translucence of these leaves show up better when shot against the light.


Photograph by Munish Khanna

Photograph by Munish Khanna

Marbles and translucent colour bottles would never show their true vibrant colours unless photographed against the light.

Photograph by Munish Khanna

Backlighting can be used to highlight the smoke effect. Here to make the shot more interesting I let the light source itself be there in the frame and make a flare. These kinds of effects look nice when intentionally done in a couple of shots. It won't look nice if you get a flare accidentally in all your shots.

Get an Idea about the Light modifiers used in Photography.




23 views0 comments

Comentarios

Obtuvo 0 de 5 estrellas.
Aún no hay calificaciones

Agrega una calificación

Top Articles