How to use backlights for an effective feel of the photograph?

Back lighting is something which gives us the feel of mood and glow in the photos. In particular, the back light with a feel of rim at the edge of the subject truly brings the third dimension of the subject. The translucent subjects reveal fantastic texture details in the backlight scenes. Landscapes looks refreshing with a good backlight

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The following tips may help you to shoot nice backlight shots.

  1. Choose to shoot in early mornings and late evenings for an effective back light.
  1. Use mist, smoke, stream, dust and extra humidity for an effective visual of backlight._MG_4991c
  1. Position the Sun at an oblique angle and let the light pass through the scene towards the camera.
  1. Use good lens hood or light cutters to avoid unwanted glare or flare in the shots. An added glare or flare sometime gives an extra punch to the photo.IMG_0149
  1. Take exposure for the shadows and underexpose for about a stop or more for a better details of highlights.
  1. Use gentle fill in flash for people shots to get the details of the shadow areas.IMG_0096c
  1. Be careful about Auto focus. Most of the entry level DSLR cameras may not be able to autofocus the scene that easily. If you are comfortable and the subject is fairly not moving fast, then you can try manual focus.
  1. A shift in the white balance towards amber will be good for day light shots.
  1. A landscape shot with the feel of shafts of light using back light will be looking fresh and energetic.                          _MG_0211c
  1. Add an extra contrast in the picture style setting or while working in the digital darkroom.
  1. The punch of steam or smoke will be appetizing while using a gentle back light.
  1. Use a gentle rim or back light for all the portraits and people shots to enhance the texture of hair and skin textures._C1A6700
  1. A bright back light where the exposure is settled for highlights, results in a beautiful silhouette.
  1. A back light shot of a food setup and transparent products are definitely appetizing.IMG_3842s

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Just in about half an hour…!

Many times when we go out for travel photography and try shooting heritages, temples, landmarks, we may not get a shot as required/visualized. This is mostly because the light is not perfect or we reach the place at the wrong time of the day. But sometimes to our surprise the light is not only fantastic but also changes fast to get a lot of variation in the shots.

One such magic happened to me recently on my trip with my students of Ambitions4 Photography Academy to the UNESCO world heritage site, famous tourist spot – Shore temple, Mamallapuram about 50km from Chennai (a most popular place for all kinds of photographers). It was on a sunny day after gentle rains in the previous day; the sky was clearly blue contrasting with buddle of beautiful bright clouds. The crispy bright and fresh Sunlight on the ancient shore temple (a marvel of temple architecture built by Narashimavarman of the great Pallava Dynasty in 8th century AD) made it look terrific.

Most other earlier times I visited this place was truly disappointing. I just come with few record shots only. But this time, I was excited like a child… took my DSLR with a circular polarizer on my lens and shot about 50 images in less than half an hour from different angles and compositions. I got my shots for the day even before 7.30 in the morning…!

May be this is what people say “You have to be on the right place at the right time to get most of your shots right in photography”!