Back Lighting

Back Lighting in very broad terminology can be used to describe many different photography styles, however it speaks directly to the way that the light illuminates the subject. We will not have the space in this post that would be required to discuss all of these options, but I will provide a list of shot types for you to play with and perhaps we will be able to return to discuss them in more detail at a later date.

Back Lighting is exactly what it sounds like, putting the part or all of the lighting source behind the subject to highlight their outline in light. In using light this way it is possible to capture silhouettes; Wash-out or over expose the back ground (giving a different appearance to the location); Add an infinite amount of light around your subject without making a harsh contrast in shadow and Vignetting. All of these options have more to do with camera settings than lighting, although lighting is still required. So enjoy your time playing with these things; now we will work more on the theory and practical work of Back Lighting.

Necessary equipment:

  • Reflector
  • Flash
  • Studio lights
  • Soft box
  • Bright light source in the background (it is cheaper to work with multiple light sources)
  • Tripod
  • Remote Shutter Release

Setting up your camera for success.

  • High aperture
  • Low ISO
  • Moderate shutter speed (1/10th – 1 second)
  • Prime focal lens (50mm optimal for portraits)

A slow shutter speed is not required for any reason other than to make sure the subject is properly exposed rather than the background. Feel free to shorten the shutter speed if you have enough light to do so. Obviously I know a small amount about photography, but just because I know something does not guarantee that I know everything. So play with you camera settings and have a ball getting the best photos you can!

Light Has Color?

I can go into a lot of technical terminology and “geek speak” about light refraction contrasted to camera White Balance. However, I want to take this post and use it to discuss the magnificence of the creation around us and another role that light plays in it. Light is an incredible source of science, energy and to me is one of the most interesting subjects of study.

This post was started with the connection between light and color, so let us turn to the topic of the post.

Refracted light is a very specific process of splitting the light ray into exact color bands. While this process is highly scientific in how it is accomplished; it does not require expensive equipment or a high degree of education to verify and study as a curious lay person. Refracting light rays can be tested and demonstrated quite easily with a water hose, water supply and bright sunny day.

With the water hose connected to the water supply open the valve to pressurize the hose with water keeping it to a manageable level for an individual holding it and placing their thumb over the hose connector creating a fan of spraying water. (Appropriate attire for playing in the water maybe preferred as the child in all of us enjoys this simple pleasure.) As the individual with the water hose in-hand maintains the spraying water, turning slowly right or left; the sun will reflect off of the spraying mist and cast a rainbow in the spray.

The water droplets act as prisms, receiving the light and splitting it into the color bands I mentioned above. The light rays are split into 7 bands; Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo and Violet. It may help keeping the colors straight if you put it in this for “ROY G. BIV”.

So, are there colors in light? Most definitely! Before I sign off, updating the blog with this post, I would like to add the definition of “refraction”: “the change of direction of a ray of light, sound, heat, or the like, in passing obliquely from one medium into another in which its wave velocity is different.”

Happy studies!