Jeffrey Van Daele Photography | PHOTO TIP :: Everybody loves a good backlit image

PHOTO TIP :: Everybody loves a good backlit image

June 01, 2018  •  1 Comment

It's true, everybody loves a good backlit image. And once you know what to look for and how to do it, you will get hooked! In this post I'll teach you what to look for, what settings to use, etc.

Japanese Macaque (Macaca fuscata)Japanese Macaque (Macaca fuscata)Japanese Macaque (Macaca fuscata) Snow Monkey - Jigokudani Monkey Park, Japan

First of all, the position of the sun is of the utmost importance. Anytime is a good time to take backlit images, but it is best when the sun is low in the sky. So an hour after sunrise or before sunset is perfect. An extra is, that you'll get a nice golden rimlight around this time.

Then, try to get your subject in front of you, in one line to the sun. The harier the subject, the better it will work :). Once you've established that, see if you can get a dark (or shady) background behind subject.

If you can get all these elements at the same time, you are ready for the next step.

Now it's time to underexpose! I'm not going to tell you for how many stops, figure it out  for yourselves. Because I don't know what you like. Some people love a complete dark background, well then you can underexpose for 3 to 4 stops. Others like more detail in the background, andunderexposure for 2 stops will do. In my opinion...nothing is wrong! If it isn't - according to the school books - technically correct, it's probably creative. :)

Backlit Bactrian Camel (Camelus bactrianus)Backlit Bactrian Camel (Camelus bactrianus)Parque Cabarceno, Spain

Bactrian Camels - Parque Cabarceno, Spain

Cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus)Cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus)Zimanga Private Game Reserve, South Africa

Cheetah - Zimanga Private Game Reserve, South Africa


So, in summary:

  • Shoot when the sun is low (about one hour before sunset, after sunrise)
  • Get your subject in one line line to the sun, with the sun behind your subject
  • Try to find a dark or shady background, keeping the sun more or less in one line to the subject.
  • underexpose
  • be happy



Brigitte Storms(non-registered)
It seems so simple, but i am sure that it isn't. ;-)
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