Photography Tip: Backlit Photos

It was only recently that I appreciated the love the look and feel of bright, backlit photos. Maybe it is because it was just only recently too that I learned how to take them correctly. These are examples of backlit photos.

I took these with my DSLR camera (I am Canon girl) one afternoon at my condominium unit. I placed my camera on a shelf and used a remote to capture these photos of me and Sophia. It may be hard to believe but a similar effect can be done with an iPhone camera (I am an Apple girl).

I remember when I was little and my lola would take my photo, she would always position herself so that the camera would not be against the light or facing the light. The reason was that the subject will be dark such as photo below.

My subject here is the name Andrea. I placed it on a window sill. I took this with my Iphone and I did not want a silhouette. I wanted the colors of the letters to be seen. This was not the effect I wanted.

I took the photo again but I instructed the camera to take a brighter photo. Note that the above photo and the photo below were taken only seconds apart. Isn’t this so much better given that I wanted the colors and details of the letters to be seen?

All cameras measure the amount available in a scene and will adjust brightness or darkness of the photo based on the light it measures. So if the camera (on auto mode) thinks that the subject or scene is too bright, it will lower the brightness of the photo. If the camera sees that there isn’t enough light, it will increase the brightness of the photo. The same is true for the iPhone camera (and any brand smartphone camera).

How did I make the photo brighter? Instead of allowing the phone to determine the brightness, I gave it instructions. The iPhone camera has a feature where you tap (hold until you see a blue square come up) on the screen to tell the phone which part of the photo will be used as the basis for exposure (brightness). In the first photo, I tapped in the very bright portion of the sky. The camera adjusted the photo to be darker because it thought that it was too bright.

In the second photo, I tapped in the lower portion of the photo which was darker than the sky so the camera increased brightness of the photo because it thought that it was too dark. This is so much brighter and was the effect I wanted to achieve.

If you aren’t sure where to tap on the screen, just tap all around until you get the desired brightness. After which, press the button to take the photo.

If you think the letters in the name Andrea are really cute and something you would like, I make them so just send me a message for inquiries. It is perfect for child’s room or for the cake table at a party. I will customize the colors based on a theme.

Here is another example with my camera bag as the subject. Again, I did not want a silhouette effect (left photo). I wanted the details of my bag to be seen (right photo).

To illustrate where I tapped on screen for each photo.

If you are wondering what brand my camera bag is, its Tote & Shoot by Shootsac. What I love about it is that it does not look like a camera bag and I can carry other things in it like my wallet, phone and baby wipes.

Another example with a person, my daughter as the subject. Excuse her messy hair. She just came from school and I didn’t bother to fix her hair. I just wanted to take the photos for this project.

The left photo is too dark! I can’t see her face and a silhouette wasn’t the look I was going for. Even if I was going for a silhouette, it isn’t even nice. The right one is so much brighter and I can see her cute dimples and smile (mommy goggles on!).

To illustrate where I tapped on my phone.

You must be thinking, but a camera has a flash! Why didn’t she use it? I did but I do not like how direct flash looks.

Eeeew! The one with flash looks awful right?

I am not an expert but I hope this post helps at least one person to take better photos. This tip applies to all types of photos backlit or not.

I would love to hear from you! Please leave a comment if you think this was helpful. If you think there are any errors here, please send me a message so I can revise any erroneous information.

Thanks for dropping by! Have  great weekend!






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