“Life is full of beauty. Notice it. Notice the bumble bee, the small child, and the smiling faces. Smell the rain, and feel the wind. Live your life to the fullest potential, and fight for your dreams.” – Ashley Smith
I cannot claim to be an expert in any shape or form, but for my final post I thought I would add some tips I have found out along the way about backlighting.
1. Spot Meter. It is the way to go in order to light up your subject. If you meter in another mode your subject will be much too dark (unless of course you want a silhouette).
2. Think about the light. Shoot your subject against a dark background. This will make the most of the backlit parts of your subject, it helps them stand out and it also reduces the risk of over-exposing.
3. Reduce contrast. Soft backlighting when the sun is at its weakest or low in the sky will lower the contrast levels and reduce the chance of clipped shadows and blown highlights, just before sunset is a great time, such warm colour.
4. Overexpose. It is probably best not to trust your meter 100% when shooting into light. It is worth overexposing the meter to get the perfect exposure (unless you are going for a dark, dramatic, silhouette).
5. A lens hood is a must. It is best to shield the front element of your lens in order to prevent flare. unless of course this is the look you are after that is!
6. Study the light. Watch the light around you all day everyday. Think about how it falls when indoors; where and what times the light would be nice for portraits. If you want to achieve backlit images outdoors you will need to stick as close to sunrise/sunset as possible for those golden tones & wonderful soft light.
7. Move around your subject. If you don’t like the look you’re achieving simply move around your subject to change the way the light affects your image.
8. White balance. Try to get it right in camera! I use Kelvin . Generally I begin around 5590K while shooting an hour or two before sunset. This is just a starting point, then I will tweak if needed.
9. Back button focusing. I think using BBF helps get sharper focus. I toggle then use BBF then press the shutter.
10. Wear white or use a reflector. Carrying a reflector can be awkward. You can always take the easy way & reflect some light back on to your subject by wearing white!
“The moment one gives close attention to any thing, even a blade of grass it becomes a mysterious, awesome, indescribably magnificent world in itself.” -Henry Miller
This week has just flown by, I love shooting water droplets on grass and what better way to shoot than by using backlighting, it gives such a magical feel to what could so easily be a very ordinary capture.
“We cast a shadow on something wherever we stand, and it is no good moving from place to place to save things; because the shadow always follows. Choose a place where you won’t do harm – yes, choose a place where you won’t do very much harm, and stand in it for all you are worth, facing the sunshine.”
― E.M. Forster, A Room with a View
Well I am already on week 6 of my Light project and in this my second week of backlighting I have decided to look at portraits. One thing you must be careful of in general is lens flare. When you are shooting into the light, as you do with backlighting, you may get flare. This occurs when strong light rays go directly into your lens, hit the front element, scatter inside it and cause excessive lens refraction. The quality of the glass and the lens width contribute to the degree of flare. You can use your lens hood to help prevent such flare. Sometimes though flare can be a great advantage. It can dress up a photo, like the one above, which adds warmth and atmosphere.
Todays task for Blogging 101 is “develop a regular feature for your blog.” Which is quite apt considering Friday is the day I have been posting my year long project posts on “light sources”. It mentions creating a menu item or widget to highlight it, well I had this in hand already, so will be making this page live too now.
Until next week……….
Every moment of light and dark is a miracle. – Walt Whitman
The next four weeks of my 52 Week project I am concentrating on backlighting and different ways of using it in my photography.
Most guides on photography advise you to shoot with the sun or light source behind you to illuminate your subject from the front. This is in itself good advice which will often produce very good, evenly lit images. However, rules are sometimes there to be broken:-)
Simply put backlighting is when a light source is behind the main subject and you are shooting towards it. While some might find it counterintuitive to shoot into the light, the effects can be quite magical. By having the light behind the subject of the photo, the finer details of an object can be enhanced as well as the capture of some lovely silhouettes and sunbursts. Landscape photography works well with backlighting, especially with translucent flowers and foliage or rim lighting of objects in the background. Even atmospheric elements for example fog or steam can be intensified and therefore alter the mood of an image immensely.
To get the correct exposure it is best to use either Spot or Partial metering, which allows you to take a very specific meter reading directly from the main subject.
The top photo was taken in my kitchen looking out towards the bright sunshine coming in through my conservatory windows, I loved the way the details on the Orchid flower drying out were intensified giving it a very delicate feel and greater texture, more so I think than it would have been if I had shot the photo in the opposite direction (into the darker room inside my house). The photo below was taken at night and I used a torch to illuminate the petals from behind which I think highlights the layered petals quite well. Let me know what you think, do they work?
Today’s Blogging 101 prompt was to create a blogroll, as I do not particularly want any more widgets on my sidebar I have decided to create a page of some of the sites I do visit regularly. I will constantly add to these as I know I have left quite a few off. Do you have any photography sites that you visit a lot and find helpful, I would love to hear about them?