Almost as a black silhouette

I love shooting back-lit, it yields so much to your scene and motive. There is several things that making shooting back-lit tricky. Not only are we troubled a light background, making the motive stand out as a black silhouette, but also sun flares and a hazed/washed-out expression as the immediate result.

The first step is to diffuse the otherwise overwhelming light, I prefer using objects in the environment. It reduces distracting flare or haziness on the image. Trees, Tall buildings, any natural element where I can hide the direct sun behind. I also prefer shooting back-lit while the sun is low on the horizon. The long shadows is a tell that you are doing it right. If you are getting flairs or star bursts, then try to use them creatively, they can bring an interesting element to the photo. if you look at this photo of Hou Farro, you’ll see a small diffraction in the glass, I think it adds to the photo, giving it a extract lift.

Any kind of back-lit photo, demands full manual on your camera. The AI of your camera will be thrown off completely. Look at the histogram, try to get a good distribution when shooting the photo, the rest is a matter for the post production in LR/Camera Raw.

Hou Morning by Jørgen Guldmann on

Editing is a the key to a back-lit photo. Sadly it’s not as simple as adjusting white balance and contrast in the Camera-Raw panel.

I prefer steps of setting white and black points, remember to hold the alt key down while adjusting for easily being able to see when black and white starts to cut in. Then its time for adjusting exposure, aim for using the whole distribution of the histogram. When you got that, go for fine-tuning Highlights, Shadows. A finishing touch is often found in a visit to the HSL panel is needed to accomplish a deeply toned final image.

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