Portrait | How To Use Backlighting To Your Advantage


© 2010 Wazari Wazir | Backlighting Portraiture

Backlighting can be friend or foe to the photographers. Most photographers hate it when they have to deal with the backlighting, the metering can’t be trusted when dealing with the backlighting and usually PROGRAM MODE doesn’t work here, unless you make some customization with the PROGRAM MODE. Why Program Mode doesn’t work, simply put, the metering will think that there is a lot of light source out there and usually it will end up with underexposing your main subject in order for the camera to “average” the scene.

In this case, like my son picture above I use build in Spot Metering from my camera to get the reading and I use MANUAL MODE here. Take the reading from my son face and don’t worry about the background, definitely the background will be overexpose but that’s alright since the background is not my main subject, I just need a correct exposure for my son face.

Some people asked me, did I use flash here, or did I use reflector here? My answer is no, I don’t use flash and I didn’t use reflector, why? Because I want to make it as close to reality as possible “minus” the tone. I don’t want my photography to be complicated, I don’t want my photography to look like that I’m having a fashion photo shoot, I want my photography to be simple and I want to work fast and further more, using flash with kill the mood.

I don’t think I will get  soft looking mood if I were to use flash here and if I choose to use reflector to brighten up my son face, it will look unnatural because the lighting or the sun are coming up from the  background and how come there is another source of light coming up from the front, I don’t want that kind of thing, I want to record as the way I see it. The editing is just the way I want to present it.

Few things about the editing, I did lower the saturation here in order to get this “Old School” kind of thing and I did add a texture here just a little bit of artistic touch if I can use that words. If you can see, the texture play here is jut minor, hardly visible. Playing with backlighting was easy if you know how to do it and know how to get it right. The best time to play around with backlighting is when the sun is around early morning or late afternoon. have fun with backlighting.

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