For the love of backlight

In Inspiration, Lighting
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Guys, it’s Friday (Fri-yay!) and I’m here today to talk to you (again, I know) about backlight. YES! It’s something that I thought I might shake as my shooting has progressed, but I just can’t seem to do it.

Backlight, why do I love thee? Oh, friends, let me count the ways.

  1. That amazing ethereal-ness that pops photos into a special sort of magic realm.
  2. Rim light. In kids, the hairs that fly out of place in their kid-ness. A capturing of the smallest movements. A glow of happiness, of joy, of love.
  3. Oh, my goodness, there’s usually some awfully lovely bokeh involved. I just cannot say no to that one!
  4. When used as a silhouette, you can pull some interesting anonymity in shots, playing on the ability for the viewer to place themselves in the scene.
  5. The flare – I absolutely can’t round out this list without mention of that elusive and sparkly little sprite. I’ve definitely got lenses that do better with this than others, and pulling them out to intentionally play with flare is awfully fun.
  6. Lastly, I think that being able to control just how much we want to use is so powerful. Take a super overcast day, for instance, you can still find where the light’s coming from and pull your subject around just so (don’t be afraid to bump that ISO!) and make some no-sunshine backlit wonders.

Whether you go all out, blowing out skies, getting as much golden bokeh as possible or pull it back and use it more subtly, I think backlight is really and truly my favorite. As much as I try to shake it, I keep coming back time after time after time.

I challenge you, then, for this weekend – go off and see what kind of backlit magic you can come up with! Throw your favorites in the comments – I can’t wait to see what you create!

All the best,


  1. Backlighting is so magical! I’ve had other photographers out in public yell at me and tell me I’m shooting wrong and I always pity them for not understanding the magic of backlighting! Beautiful work!

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