Break the rules: become a pro at using backlight to add drama to any photo

Master the backlight effect

3 simple ways to achieve cool backlight effects in-camera


Backlight tips: choose suitable subjects

01 Suitable subjects
Choose a subject that lends itself well to a backlit approach. This could be a plant or flower with translucent leaves or petals, an animal with a furry coat, or a friend or model with attractive long hair.

Backlight tips: composition

02 Confident composition
Consider the lighting and background carefully; low sun works best for backlit shots. Try to shoot against a solid, dark-coloured background to make the subject stand out and emphasise the rim lighting.  For more on composing images, see our guide to The 10 Rules of Photo Composition (and why they work).

Backlight tips: metering

03 Precise metering
Switch to Spot metering (find out when to use spot metering) and take a meter reading directly from the subject, excluding the background. Metering this way will ensure that your subject is correctly exposed. If your SLR lacks a Spot metering mode, move in close to fill the frame with the subject, expose 
in Manual mode, then recompose.

PAGE 1: What is backlighting?
PAGE 2: 3 ways to achieve backlight effects in-camera
PAGE 3: Backlighting portraits
PAGE 4: Crucial backlighting tips to remember


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