When taking portraits, photographers who are just starting out tend to place the sun behind the camera. That’s a simple approach as it illuminates the subject well, making it easy for the photographer to take photos. But, what’s important to realize is that having the sun behind the subject can get you some amazing results. For instance, have a look at the image below that photographer Horacio Abaroa took at the California Poppy fields:
Abaroa took the image with his Sony A7RII and the Sigma 50mm 1.4 Art Lens at f/1.8 and ISO 100.
The greatest challenge with having the sun behind the subject’s back has to be the extreme dynamic range. If not done properly, you run the risk of blowing out the entire background while exposing for the subject’s face. Abaroa overcame the challenge in this particular shot by placing a white circular reflector right in front of the subject. This bounced some light back to the subject’s face whilst producing a nice catchlight as well.
Another beautiful aspect of a back light portrait that you can see in this image is the edge lighting on the subject. The light from the back has created beautiful highlights on the edges of the subject’s arm along with a soft glow on the edges of her hair. Besides adding interest to the image, this also creates a beautiful separation between the subject and her surroundings.
Have you ever tried taking a backlit portrait?
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