I’m going to have the most beautiful wedding to show you tomorrow, but wanted to elaborate on a scene from yesterday. I had my feet up on the window sill in my hotel room here in Seattle (editing said wedding) and noticed the lovely light.
This is my absolute favorite kind of light to shoot in: backlighting. Now if you’re not a photographer, you probably think it’s kinda silly to have a favorite light. But I bet your photographer friends (and mine) have a favorite light, too.
What I love about backlighting is that it creates this wonderful bright rim around the subject (here, my feet) that makes it stand out from the background. This is especially effective if the subject is in front of something dark, like in the first photo below of Sarah and Scott.
The other brilliant thing about backlighting is that it lights up any little bits of things floating around in the air near the subject, or other elements between the subject and the dark background. You can see this in the photo at right, where you can see every water stain on the dirty window and in the photo below of Sarah and Scott, with the much more attractive little bits of pollen lighting up around them. I love this effect and think it is singularly beautiful.
Shooting backlit can be a little more difficult than using other types of light because most cameras will not want to expose for the subject, but for the background, particularly if you are including a lot of background in the image. In this instance, it is critical to switch to manual mode to get the proper exposure for the subject. Once you have the correct exposure, then you can shoot away without worrying if the camera is guessing correctly – this actually makes it much, much easier to properly engage your subjects!
A couple more examples. From my shoot at Temptation Horse Farm:
From Lisa and Scott’s wedding:
From Aimee & Richard’s engagement session at Dumbarton Oaks:
I hope this was useful to someone, if not, I hope you liked looking at my backlit photos! They are normally some of my favorites from any session.