The Truth About Backlighting In Photography

We take photographs of everything, from food to pets and backyard scenes to vacation pictures that remind us of fun times. For each photo we take, we make decisions about what we want in the frame, what angles we would like to shoot from, and critically the direction and strength of our light source.

Lighting determines not only brightness and darkness but also tone, mood, and atmosphere. Therefore, it is necessary to control and manipulate light correctly to get the best texture, vibrancy of color, and luminosity in your subjects.

Of course, capturing that perfect photograph is not easy. As experts in the field of photography, WDJPhoto has written down pointers regarding the use of backlighting lighting in the process of image composition.

First off, photography instructors would advise you to never shoot directly into your light source. While we understand the principle behind their concerns, they are also removing a powerful tool from the suite of options for composition. Using a backlight can add impact and drama to your images.

Similarly, try to take a picture of the sun. You will be challenged to find the proper exposure to show both the character of the sun and any other compositional elements that may fall within your viewfinder at that time. This is because of the extreme range of light values in your image.

To mitigate this issue and open a whole new panoply of compositional options, you must find ways to get your shot while still aiming in the sun’s direction. To accomplish this, find yourself something to block the actual body of the sun (a tree trunk, a thick leafy branch, the edge of a rooftop) while still taking full advantage of the flood of light that is now behind your subject. You are now entering the exciting and potentially ethereal realm of backlight photography.

An indirect backlight is also very effective at providing the benefits of a backlight while avoiding potential pitfalls. You can do this by simply moving your camera up, down, left, or right. You can shoot adjacent to the direct line to the sun while realizing the visual impact only a powerful backlight can offer.

As one of the best landscape photographers in British Columbia, I specialize in wall art, landscapes, sceneries, Vancouver Island art, and west coast photography. Over the years I have been into photography, I have realized my passion lies in the quirky realms of backlight and juxtaposition. I serve clients across New Westminster, Victoria, Vancouver, Richmond, North Vancouver, West Vancouver, Coquitlam, Burnaby, Port Coquitlam, Port Moody, Surrey, Langley, Abbotsford, Kelowna, Kamloops, Haida Gwaii, and the surrounding areas.

To view some of my work, please click here. If you have questions related to landscape photography, feel free to get in touch with me by clicking here.