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5 Tips for How to Take a Beautiful Backlit Photo {Video}

Are you looking to get that beautiful soft glow in your photos? You are probably looking for ways to take a beautiful backlit photo. Backlighting can be a little tricky, but if you know these few easy tricks, it will make backlighting your photos a whole lot easier and give you the look you were aiming for! Keep reading for all 5 tips on how to backlight a photo PLUS see a quick behind the scenes video tutorial of me taking these backlit pictures.




Position Your Light Source

Just as the title suggests, to create a backlit photo, your light should be in the back! To backlight a photo, look for the sun and place it directly behind the subject. You should notice the light hitting their hair from behind and creating a pretty glow. The light should not be hitting their face or their side. What you should note, however, is that it doesn’t need to be perfectly in line behind the subject- it could be behind and off to one side.

RELATED PODCAST: STRANGE LIGHT SOURCES TO USE IN YOUR PHOTOS TO BOOST YOUR CREATIVITY


Find A Filter

If you are trying to backlight a photo in a clear sky, it can be done, but it is a little tricky. To make it easier on yourself and more pleasing in the photo, find something to filter the light through. One great example of a natural filter is trees. Having something filter through the light will create a nice soft glow.

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Move Your Body

Once you have positioned your light (with a filter) and your subject, now it’s time to position YOU! When you are backlighting a photo, even moving a few inches in any direction can dramatically change the light. Don’t be afraid to look through your viewfinder and then just move slightly to find the best light that shines through.

5 Easy ways to take a beautiful backlit photo

Use a Reflector

Sometimes when you are backlighting a photo, there is not enough light coming from the front to give your subject a bright glow and pretty catchlights. If their face and eyes appear to dark, you may want to use a reflector. Hold the reflector up with the white side facing the light so that it will bounce off and onto your subject. This should create just the right amount of extra light to make them pop.

RELATED ARTICLE: HOW TO USE A REFLECTOR- AND THE DIFFERENCE IT WILL MAKE!

Spot Meter

You can play around with the different metering modes on your camera to see which one gives you the best results when backlighting. ?I prefer using spot metering when backlighting. This allows you to meter to the subject so that they are not too dark. On my Canon, spot metering is set when you see a solid black dot. Check your camera manual for how to change metering modes with your model camera.

Take a peek at the video tutorial below to watch how I set up my photos using backlight! ( And please don’t mind the head chops at the end- the camera man is my 8 year old emerging director who wanted to help with the filming of this tutorial, if you liked his camera skills, he’d appreciate a like:) )

Now, go out there are give it a try! Or if you have a trick you use, leave me a comment below and let us know how you backlight your photos! I’d love to hear from you:)

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5 Tips for How to Take a Beautiful Backlit Photo
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  • PhylFebruary 10, 2017 - 11:39 pm

    I love your editing style how to do the center light with the vignetteReplyCancel

    • Cozy Clicks Photography LLCFebruary 12, 2017 - 3:55 pm

      HI Phyl! Thanks:) The vingette here is just added in using ACR. (there is the same slider in LR.) Sometimes I also use PS and just darken the layer and brush it on around the edges.
      -EmilyReplyCancel

  • JenDecember 16, 2016 - 9:12 am

    Great tips!ReplyCancel

  • CassandraDecember 16, 2016 - 7:51 am

    I love backlighting! This information was very helpful! Love your photos 🙂ReplyCancel

  • SarayaDecember 16, 2016 - 7:49 am

    Great advice and gorgeous pictures!ReplyCancel

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