Wednesday, April 04, 2007


Last night at our photo club, we had one of our very experienced members give us a presentation on the aspects of using back-lighting for photography! Most photographers shy away from this type of photography because it involves shooting directly into the sun.

But it is amazing what kind of things you can produce by giving this a try. Back lighting produces texture, silhouetting, depth, & mood. He showed us sample after sample of this technique & I'm sure each one of us left with the determination to at least "give it a try".

I looked thru my archives at home, wondering if I had anything that represented using these ideas. The two I found from May of last year are shown here. Not nearly a good enough representation of the images he showed us but its all I had. With the light being in front of me, it brings out the details & layers of the hills in the back ground, so you can see the layers of trees. Frontal light would make it all one flat color. It also adds texture to the water and the leaves.

I found a good article, that re-capped many of the items our photo club member touched on, written by Phil McDermott where he says "Contrary to popular belief stunning photographs can be taken when shooting into the light. Whilst this may contradict advice given to beginners to always shoot with the light coming from behind the camera the art of backlighting is a technique that can produce wonderful images. However, many nature photographers are intimidated by the idea of pointing the camera towards the light and shy away from many worthwhile opportunities." You can read the small article here if you choose.

Anyways, its an interesting technique that can produce some beautiful images with a little practice. A technique I will definitely be trying more of.


  1. Beck, I'm not daring enough with my photos...yet anyhow. Maybe my hubby though, he takes a long time to set up for a shot. I just shoot every which way, usually I get pics of my kids, nieces, & nephews two seconds after the cutest pose in the world. You know, the ones where they're eyes were open just a second ago!?!

    But this idea of shooting into the light makes me think of how many times we shy away from the intensity of God's light and miss so many would be blessings.

    Thanks for dropping by "adventurous living".

  2. these are stunning Beck... but I'm curious, I've been told this can actually damage the sensor in your camera if you are not careful?? Especially if you are a beginning photographer? I haven't read your linked article yet (i'm supposed to be packing shhhh...) but I will try to later. I've cautioned new photographers to be careful of this.. am I giving the wrong advice? I loved coffee and chat w/ you yesterday - you always lift my spirits! Now... to go burn off that whipped cream topping...

  3. Wow! Those are beautiful, Becky. It's funny, I was just outside a few minutes ago trying to shoot my California poppies. But the sun was in the wrong spot (so I thought). So I came in and decided to post a "Happy Easter" post using my Iris instead. I'm going to try your technique! Thanks for the photography lesson!

  4. I love it. Your picture is awesome.
    I have been gone for the past week. My Dad had a heart attack last Sunday and I had to go home to be with him. He had triple bypass surgery for the 2nd time. He is doing fine though.

  5. LGS - hope you gave it a try!

    Susan - I like the analogy. It is true, we shy away from His light instead of embracing it full on!

    Barb - direct sun is not really bad for the sensor, unless you're leaving it open for an EXTREMELY long exposure. Like anything, direct sunlight can do damage over time (like leaving something in a sunny windowsill, it will eventually cause it to fade or break down) but have no fear in snapping into the sun, just be careful of it directly into your eyes :)

    Sharon - unless I actually choose to include the sun I'm like you, trying to find the shots that don't include it. Sometimes its "too bright". I like shooting on partially cloudy days the best.

    Janice - my prayers for your dad & family. Glad to hear he's doing ok. Scary stuff!