Tag Archives: back

Back lighting

Someone asked me the other day the best way to take soft, beautiful photos outdoors in the middle of the day. This is never the best scenario for photographs, as we all know. But not every advertising and editorial photo shoot can be taken at twilight. So, I pulled a few images from recent shoots I’ve done with just that situation.

There are many solutions for this problem, however I chose to showcase one solution in a few different examples. If anyone is interested in knowing other solutions, just let me know and I’ll do another posting.

So, this solution is simple and clean… back-lighting the subject. Sounds easy enough, but there are a few things to keep in mind while doing this. In the middle of the day when the sun is burning down from above, you need to find just the right angle to capture your subject where they are being lit behind by the sun and the sun isn’t rolling over on them too much to cause dramatic, distracting sun spots. This will all depend on the model’s skin tone, body and face shape, clothing and location. Sometimes you can find a tree to help diffuse the sun a bit, but still catch the light coming through without looking splotchy. This one can be tricky, but my suggestion would be to test, test, test. The more you experiment with this type of lighting situation the more you’ll come to recognize in what scenes you need to angle and position what people.

Also, you’ll most likely want some sort of a fill light so the background isn’t so blown out and skin isn’t too dark. You can use strobes or fill cards for this. But remember when using fill cards to have them be as close to the camera angle as possible and to hold them up high. You don’t want to “monster light” your subject from the front and create dark shadows in unnatural places.

Anyway, I hope this helps with the common problem many photographer’s face.