As mentioned earlier, some plants look fabulous when they are back-lit because their translucent structure comes to life.
But that’s not the limit to backlighting, there are many other subjects that look great when lit from behind, it’s a good option for portraits for example.
The key to shooting a back-lit subject is to set the exposure for your subject and not the background.
The easiest way to do this is to set your camera to spot-metering mode and ensure that the spot (usually the active AF point these days, but it maybe the centre of the frame) is over your subject when you set the exposure.
The end result should be a correctly exposed subject against and bright, possibly burned out background.
If you want to create a more high-key look, increase the exposure a little to brighten your subject further.
5. Fill-in flash
A burst of flash, ideally from an off-camera unit, will flood shadows with light and reduce the contrast of a harshly-lit scene dramatically. It also puts you in control of light-levels and exposure.
For the best results the flash should be softened with some form of diffuser or soft box and positioned towards the opposite side of the subject to the ambient light source so that the shadows receive light.
Modern TTL (Through The Lens) flash metering systems do all the hard work for you, but you can adjust the brightness of the flash output using the flash exposure compensation controls on the gun or camera.
6. Find shade
Our final way to deal with harsh light is to get out of it and find some shade.
It’s a technique that’s favoured by many professional wedding and portrait photographers.
Positioning your subject in the shade of a tree means that they won’t be squinting into the sun and you can use a burst of flash to lift the exposure so that they look as bright as the surroundings beyond the shade.
See the light like a pro: everything you were afraid to ask about using natural light
10 common exposure problems every photographer faces (and how to fix them)
DSLR Tips: the best settings for preserving detail in any situation
Bracketing Explained: how to capture fine detail in shadows and highlights
10 portrait photography mistakes every photographer makes (and how to avoid them)
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