Hi! I’m Lauren with Lauren Weeks Photography and today I’ll be showing you how I shoot my subject with light behind them – also known as a backlit picture. These are my favorite types of photos because I think shooting a backlit image is what makes the light look romantic and dreamy. So here goes!
The main thing to keep in mind here is to expose for your subject. If you have a properly exposed subject, you have a beautiful backlit photo, and this is how I do it:
1- I almost always have my camera set on spot metering. What’s the difference? Spot metering basically exposes for the area you focus your camera on (the subject) and only that area. This is different than the matrix metering that takes the whole image in your viewfinder into account when exposing the image. I find that doing this always guarantees that my subject is properly exposed.
2- I make sure my ISO is exposed for the subject only. For example, if I have my subject in front of the light and everything around her is bright, but she is lighting darker, I make sure that I bump up my ISO a bit so that I will get a clearer shot of her.
To Understand more about ISO: Tutorial on ISO
A 5 Minute Crash Course to Learn your DSLR Camera
3- I play around with my aperature and shutterspeed. Most of the time I need to shoot wide open to let more light in. Other times I need to open my aperture AND slow my shutter speed to let a TON of more light in. It really just depends on how harsh the light is and who my subject is. If it’s a child who is not going to sit still, slowing down my shutter speed will not be an option. In this case I will usually shoot wide open and then lighten as needed in post processing. (And speaking of post-processing, I know you’re shooting in RAW because of the amazing amount of changes you can make to your image when post-processing, right?? RIGHT?!)
4- I also love to play with different angles. Depending on where my subject is in relation to the light source will depend on what settings I use in camera. Different angles can add a romantic or more dramatic look that can change the feel or emotion of any image.
The following are examples of some of my backlit photos. All images were shot with my Nikon 700 and Nikon 50mm 1.4 prime lens.
You might also like: How to Rock Your Shot with Lens Flare
ISO 360, 1.4, 1/800
ISO 1000, 2.2, 1/1250
ISO 900, 3.2, 1/200
ISO 200, 3.5, 1/100
Guest Blogger: Lauren Weeks Photography
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Lauren Weeks Photography offers wedding and on-location portrait photography in Corpus Christi, Texas. Marine wife, mommy, and lover of coffee and dark chocolate.
(Headshot is courtesy of Andrea Hauck Photography)
Gorgeous photos and great tips! Love sunlit photos like these. Pinning!!
That is some phenomenal lighting! I recently did a photo shoot that was conceptually great, but fell flat in the end.
Great info! I’m always looking to perfect this type of shot 🙂
Awesome photos and awesome tips! Thanks so much for sharing…I’ll be sure to incorporate these! #SGBC
-Natasha | http://www.lovelyyoublog.com
Thank you for the tips! You have taken gorgeous photos! Even after having my DSLR camera for two years, I’m still learning new things all the time.
Saidah Washington says
I want to invest in a dslr but am apprehensive about the learning curve. I love the way your photos turned out.
Erica @ Coming Up Roses says
Excuse me as I dive headfirst into your ISO and DSLR tutorials…your tips are great!
Coming Up Roses
Thank you for this article! 😊
I was wondering how you avoid haze in your image when shooting backlit photos? Any advice?