Using Light: Backlighting

Having the subject illuminated from behind can be a very nice effect. Out in the wild it can be tricky, compared to using backlighting in a studio setting where the photographer is controlling the light from light from all directions. The main benefit of backlighting is achieving a nice glow around the edge of the subject, and the main drawback is having most of the subject in the shade, sometimes making it difficult to see details.

Here are a few examples of backlighting. The cattle egret photo works the best, because the backlighting really brings out the details of the feathers around the head and creates a strong contrast with the dark background. There is also enough light to see the bird clearly.

backlighting1

The immature yellow-crowned night heron doesn’t gain as much from being backlit, but doesn’t really lose anything either.

backlighting2

The snowy egret with the small fish in its mouth loses quite a bit of detail and the backlighting doesn’t really make the image more appealing.

backlighting3

Overall, backlighting is fun to experiment and can achieve some very nice results, but it would take a better photographer than me to consistently use it to great effect.

One comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.