Beautifully backlit photos are dreamy, warm, golden, whimsical…what’s not to love? But there’s more to creating a stunning backlit portrait than finding light and putting it behind your subject.
Click Love Grow Instructor Merissa Wakefield is a master of backlit photography, and she has shared her top 3 secrets for nailing your next shoot!
1. Balance Your Exposure
When taking backlit photos, it can be really tricky to expose your subject correctly so that you don’t blow the highlights or end up with your subject in too much shadow.
So to have the correct exposure, you can choose to shoot at a time of day when the natural light isn’t too strong. Then, position your subject where you get a slightly diffused beautiful golden backlight and use your metering (or your eye) to find that sweet spot. This will help you make the image really shine in editing.
Backlighting is one of the scenarios where shooting raw and editing is a key part of achieving the final look.
The sweet spot between maintaining detail in your highlights and not underexposing your subject too much.
Backlight diffused by the horizon and the trees.
When shooting backlit photos, your subject can end up with their faces in too much shadow, losing detail in their eyes.
So always aim to capture light in their eyes to illuminate them and ensure their eyes don’t lose their sparkle. And when backlit, you can do this by ensuring you have a big open expanse of sky behind you to bounce light back onto them.
Shoot backlit images with an open sky behind you to bounce light back onto your subject’s face.
Catchlights for the win!
3. Positioning For Backlit Photos
You don’t have to shoot directly into the light when taking backlit photos. Experiment with where you position your subject in relation to the light source and have it just out of frame. Let in some flare if you like, or adjust yourself to avoid it. You can really get creative and artistic with this effect which will help to expose your subject.