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Understanding Backlighting in Photography

Last Updated 2nd August 2012

What is backlighting?

It is a word used to refer to lighting that is visible in a picture. Backlighting comes from behind some object. Using the correct amount of lighting is a skill that photographers must master. Using the right amount of backlighting can enhance any object and create a visual to even the smallest object.

Where does backlighting come from?

Backlighting can come from any light that is already around the object or subject you want to photograph. When you want to enhance the object by accenting the background lighting you will need a lens hood to do so. This hood can decrease the glare in the room or if your object is directly in the light it can decrease the glare you see.

If there is not enough light to enter the lens when you snap your picture then the image will not look like it does when you decided to take the picture. It loses its personal definition. So the use of backlighting can either diminish the look for the photo or it can enhance it if done correctly.

Backlighting is the most useful in pictures of landscaping or nature pictures. It is less attractive and useful in portrait type shots and can completely change the mood of the picture. You can decide how your picture is viewed by others. Do you want someone to see the evening or morning sun? It is up to you how others will view it and estimate the time of day.

Backlighting can be created through many sources but you can never be sure what lighting you will have unless you carry your own professional studio lighting. Then you can guarantee your lighting any time which will also guarantee that your viewers will see the pictures the way that you want them viewed.

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