I live in the Land of Eternal Darkness. Yes, it sounds dramatic, but that is how it feels half the time. Maybe that is why I love light so much. Light, or particularly backlight, is the whole reason for me picking up photography again, after having stopped shooting when digital photography entered the scene. I saw a backlit photo and I knew I had to learn how to do it and do it well.
September and October are the months when a backlight fan like me is photographing like crazy because the light is just sooo amazing! The light seems more golden, more yummy and just better during autumn. And of course there are the colors. They just marry the light so well. I am taking my family to all kinds of places looking for beautiful trees and good light. I live in a rural area, so its not hard finding good spots.
I always feel really happy when the vision in my head comes out how I want it, and when I get it right with the light. The trick to a good backlit photo is to filter the light with something, find the right angle and underexpose so the highlights aren’t blown. That is what works for me. In my edits I add some exposure, lower highlights, increase the blacks and add some contrast. I may add some warmth too.
I have failed many times when shooting backlight because it is hard. Apart from harsh light, its one of the trickiest lights to work with. I just keep practicing. And try to have fun while doing it. I make it an adventure for the kids. Autumn is mushroom season in Sweden so the other evening I took my son out and challenged him to find different kinds of mushrooms and he had so much fun. Meanwhile I am snapping away.
Backlight is so versatile. It can be captured full on or with just a hint of light. I love bokeh and an orange sky with trees is perfect for that. Well-filtered backlight is also amazing portrait light.
In the end, what I want in my photos is a bit of magic. I am not a documentary photographer. I want pretty light, nice scenery and beautiful colours. I will use fabrics to enhance the light and also the feeling of the scene. I don’t force my kids to wear anything they don’t want, but I do think about photography when I buy them clothes. My daughter and I share a love of pretty dresses, which serves me well when shooting. A tulledress will photograph beautifully in backlight and a knitted sweater will tell us its a bit chillier outside. The colours of the field will enhance the autumn feeling. Backlight, the beautiful colors of autumn and the crisp feeling outside, is magic to me.
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