Saturday, October 4, 2008

Let's Talk About Backlight

Our assignment this week has to do with backlight. I haven't shot the actual assignment yet - I do that tomorrow. But I went outside with G-Man on Wednesday afternoon and tried to get a little bit of practice.

In order to get backlight in a photo, the sun has to be behind or slightly to the side of your subject. Backlight can add a lot of dimension to a photo. See the light on his hair? Cool, eh?



This next shot shows what happens when you get too much backlight. The photo isn't completely "blown out" with highlights, but there is a lot of light spilling onto the image. That spilling light is called flare.


Flare effects are actually really popular depending on the photo. Often, photographers try to get flare as part of the lighting they are trying to achieve. It all depends on what you want the photo to look like. I'm glad I ended up with flare in this next shot because G-Man was running from Paul the Cat and it made the whole shot a little fuzzy and warm and I got to use the P.O.S. Lens Action from Totally Rad Actions. The action only works well on certain shots and I don't get to use very much. It's a fun one.


Now, in this shot, the flare is gone. The backlight is still there (it's a really hard edge light), but the flare is gone. I learned a nifty trick from my class to get rid of it. Do you want to know what I did?


All I had to do to get rid of the flare was shade the end of the lens with my hand. I've seen people do this when they take pictures, but I didn't know why they were doing it, so I thought it was silly. I already had my lens hood on the lens to keep sun from hitting the lens, but as you can see, the hood wasn't completely doing the job. So, I shaded the end of the lens with my hand. I was able to get off a few shots with and without shading and miraculously ended up with two of G-Man in almost the same pose so you can really see the difference:

The left side picture is not shaded. The right side picture is shaded.

I know. I'm a geek. But I thought it was cool and wanted to share. I'm starting up a blog devoted to photography soon and I'll start putting posts like this over there...

And for those of you who have been asking me, the website where I'm taking my portrait class is called The Picture Perfect School of Photography. My class is called Portraits Unplugged. They have a lot of classes and a new batch of classes start on October 10.

6 comments:

rebecca said...

I never would have guessed the shading technique for that last shot. That's amazing.
There are several interesting classes I'd love to take. Thanks for sharing.

Emily said...

Macy, you are awesome. I am so impressed with your mad skills. I am so lucky to have such a talented sister-in-law!!!

Angela said...

That looks like tons of fun to take a class! Maybe one day I'll look into finding a good one here in Utah. It's fun to see the pictures you come up with using the techniques they show you. The hand thing with flare is a good idea that I never really thought of. Your little guy is so cute!

LL said...

the difference is unbelievable! wow

Staci said...

coolio with the shading, thanks for sharing. our ward RS just started an interest group for photography so we can share these things. unfortunately, it's losing the focus on SLR phtography and we are trying to get the leader to split the group, pretending it's the same thing is a waste of my time. no offense to point and shooters...anyway, i am gonna give the shading thing a try. on my blog i have a bunch of seriously backlit pics that got some blown highlights and I am working on metering better for backlit pics. you're awesome!

Angela said...

Hey I just wanted to thank you again for sharing the "shading the lens with your hand" trick. I used it today during a wedding I photographed, where I didn't have any other option but to shade it with my hands, and it worked like a charm! Thanks again! Maybe one of these days I will take an actual class to learn all these fancy tricks instead of just faking that I know what I'm doing ;) Anyways, thanks again! That one little trick was a lifesaver for me today!!!

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