Why backlit portraits make sense

I shoot outdoors, all day, year round, in one of the sunniest states around.  As a result, there are few ways of shooting I have adopted to make this climate work for my style, and maximize my shoot time.

Backlighting is one of my favorite techniques.  It creates an instant three dimensional product by highlighting the back of my client and separating them from the background they are standing in front of.  The images have depth and interest, even in the middle of the day.  Blondes and white hair can lose some hair strand differentiation, but I am OK with that. In fact, in some cases I think it creates an interesting artist look when edited.  All focus goes to the eyes and face.  Yes!

I often shoot without flash so proper positioning and proper exposure is important or I will end up with images where my client is dark and the background is light.  Not good.  I take my exposure on a mid point on my client’s face, typically the eyes.  I aim to shoot individuals at 2.8, groups a little wider than that depending on how far they are from me, and from each other.

Many photographers also use a reflector and I have nothing against that, other than that I often photograph children.  My rule for these youngins has evolved to this,: the more gear you carry, the worse your photographs will be.  If I need additional light, I can add a little fill flash or reposition my client.  Simple as that.


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