Lighting is tricky and a little unpredictable, especially on a cloudy day when the clouds are rolling in and out. Wouldn't it be great if we could experience the perfect lighting every time we brought out our cameras. Light at our house isn't my favorite, it's really really tricky because we live under a canopy of trees, and while trees and light are great, to many trees mean not enough light.
Recently we have found a really great place that has some of my favorite things when it comes to lighting well lit photos. Right down the road from our house is a small park. It has lots of trees, a small bridge and even a pond. When your location scouting finding water is a really great thing because it will reflect the light.
SHOOT IN MANUAL : Shooting in manual is important all the way around, but it's extra important when shooting backlit subjects. Your camera will struggle to properly light your subject because of how bright the background is. You need to know how your camera is going to read the light, the subject, and the background so you can manipulate your settings to properly expose your subjects.
OVER EXPOSE YOUR METER : Shooting in manual will help you tackle this next tip. Often times when shooting backlit subjects the camera is wanting to expose for the background because it is the brightest thing in your frame. However, you want to properly expose for your subject which is undoubtedly a little darker then the background. To off set this problem you want to over expose your meter by one or two stops. This will allow your subjects to be properly exposed. The background will be over exposed just a tad, but we're not wanting to highlight the background, we'er wanting to highlight our subjects.
TIMING IS CRUCIAL : Having well lit backlit photos and beautifully well lit subjects has a lot to do with timing. You want to backlight your subject when the sun is soft and that is during or near the magic hour. You also want the sun to be falling behind your subjects. However when shooting your subjects try your best to have the sun just barely peaking into frame.
FILTER THE LIGHT : Even when shooting during the magic hour the sun can still wash out your photos, which isn't a bag thing. But you can had an even softer touch to your photos by using the trees. Trees are a perfect thing to help filter the light. Another thing you can do is to place the sun just outside the frame vs. being in frame right behind your subjects. Use the trees to filter the light and place the sun just outside of frame or peeking just in the corner of your fame.
FIND SOME SHADE : One thing that happens when we shoot backlit is the sun bounces of our lens causing our photos too look washed out. If your struggling with this look for shade that you, the photographer, can place yourself in. This will keep the sun off your lens and give you nice rich photos. If there isn't any shade for you to stand in, try using your hand to shade your lens, by sticking it out in front of you.
Backlit photos are some of my very favorite photos too shoot. They are so lovely and beautiful and everything comes together so nicely in them. Here is one more tip for good measure. :) When you're shooting make sure you are shooting with an open sky behind you, this will ensure your subject is well lit. xoxo! Samantha