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Thread: Backlit portraits with flare

  1. #1
    rpcrowe's Avatar
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    Backlit portraits with flare

    These days, I see more and more portraits, especially portraits of pretty women, which are backlit with considerable flare. That technique seems to be the "in-thing" for portraits. I am not really keen on this style and wonder if that isn't a function of my advancing age?

    What is the general concensus regarding the backlit and flared portraits amongst CiC members? I am wondering if the opinions will follow the age groups of the members; with the older folks not liking the style quite as much and with the younger folks readily accepting it as a new and exciting technique?

    I am over 50 years old (well, well OVER 50!)

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    Re: Backlit portraits with flare

    Well Richard, I don't want to fall needlessly into your demographic study, but I really, really like the backlit portraits. I read your post a few times before I decided to answer, because I wasn't sure if it was my age (35), or the fact that I like contrasty, edgy, photography that led to my answer. Either way, put a check on the side for "like" for me please!

  3. #3

    Re: Backlit portraits with flare

    I'm going to go against your theory. I am old and I like the backlit portraits.

    I have also noticed a lot of TV shows making "mistakes" for creative reasons - lots of lens flare and even flashes of white out due to too much sunlight.

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    Re: Backlit portraits with flare

    Hi Richard,

    Are you meaning backlit with flare, or backlit primarily for rim lighting? Any links to examples?

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    arith's Avatar
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    Re: Backlit portraits with flare

    Do you mean backlit like THIS:

    Backlit portraits with flare

    Depends how good lookin the model is, as for flare, I can't do it to order; mostly I try to avoid it and thought it was unintentional from the experts.

    I should have been Australian you know, what I look like when I'm dressed up erm I'm about 57 but most of my friends are in their 70's.

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    Re: Backlit portraits with flare

    Hi Richard,

    I think I know the sort of thing you mean. I like 'em and I'm (a young!) 43. I think alot of these sort of shots have come about with the advancement of off-camera lighting and strobist fans. Having the ability to get the flash off the camera has opened up a lot of avenues for creativity. Also we are seeing alot of creative night shots.

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    rpcrowe's Avatar
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    Re: Backlit portraits with flare

    Colin...

    I do like backlit for rim lighting. However I don't like lighting that is so flared out that contrast and color is lost...

    I don't have any of my own like this and hesitate to point out other photographer's work for criticism...

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    Re: Backlit portraits with flare

    For me it depends on the image. If inclusion of lens flare helps the impact of the image or draws attention to the the main point of the image, then it is a welcome element. If inclusion of lens flare is a distraction from the main subject of the image, then it would be better avoided. I suppose the same could be said for setting the mood of a photo. A lens flare in an action image going off at an angle to the action could help create energy, however, if included in a landscape could interfere with a feeling of tranquility. Lens flare is another photographic tool to be used or not by choice of the image maker in service of the subject of the photograph. In my opinion, to use it just because it is popular can be counter productive whereas in the right circumstances effective use could add to the image.

    I am over 50, am not in the business of selling photographs, and do not follow trends. However, trends can be a source of inspiration and expanded technique, though when over used, loose impact.

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    Re: Backlit portraits with flare

    Quote Originally Posted by arith View Post
    Do you mean backlit like THIS:

    Backlit portraits with flare

    Depends how good lookin the model is, as for flare, I can't do it to order; mostly I try to avoid it and thought it was unintentional from the experts.

    I should have been Australian you know, what I look like when I'm dressed up erm I'm about 57 but most of my friends are in their 70's.
    Is that a halo above your head Steve?

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    Re: Backlit portraits with flare

    Quote Originally Posted by rpcrowe View Post
    Colin...

    I do like backlit for rim lighting. However I don't like lighting that is so flared out that contrast and color is lost...

    I don't have any of my own like this and hesitate to point out other photographer's work for criticism...
    Hi Richard,

    I'm guessing you mean like these ...

    http://googleitfor.me/?q=flare+portrait

    If so then I agree with you entirely ... can't stand them. The loss of contrast just looks plain wrong.

  11. #11
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    Re: Backlit portraits with flare

    Colin...

    That's exactly what I mean... And these also... It took me a while to find some that were not a photographers postings asking for feedback.

    http://www.lightstalking.com/backlit...s-golden-hours

    I especially dislike: "four thirty & flares" and "sis". Both of these images would have ended up in my recycle bin...

    However, I kind of like "Golden Summer Light in The Field"

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    Re: Backlit portraits with flare

    Hi Richard,

    I think we're in complete agreement here. BTW, I wouldn't class the Golden Summer Light in the Field" as a flare shot - just strong rim light - tight DoF - warm light - soft processing - but can't see any flare.

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    Re: Backlit portraits with flare

    Haha!

    Now I rather like the summer flare type shots.......in fact I took one the other night with the iPhone.

    Backlit portraits with flare

    And there's even some of me knocking about the hard drive.

    Backlit portraits with flare

    To be fair it is an acquired taste and it can be overdone....like the iPhone one if I'm honest.....but it has it's place.

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    Re: Backlit portraits with flare

    erm don't think I've got a halo; thought I might be going downstairs Colin.

    But looking at those examples; I don't know why I bother to spend on the best lenses and filters, then photograph for as much information as possible, when the experts just take flat crap rubbish on there 20000 medium format cameras.

    What I can't understand is; why pay 3000 for a top model, when you can't tell who it is anyway. Cheers Richard; I normally only look at what I like and I would have never seen these.

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    Re: Backlit portraits with flare

    Richard; this phenomon is simply a fad, and will no doubt blow over in time. Photographers of all types and ages are trying to copy the "poor camera" shots often seen in the phony "reality" t.v. shows. When you realize that there is actually nothing spontaneous about these shows, you begin to see the camera faults for what they are; an effort to fool the audience into thinking what they are watching is "reality".

    If the observer's age has anything to do with it, I would say that people of a certain age have seen quite enough, and are simply tired of the B.S. being flung at them every day.

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    Administrator Manfred M's Avatar
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    Re: Backlit portraits with flare

    This technique has been around for years and is just a variant of backlighting. The problem with any fad (look at all the terrible HDRI out there) is that photographers think that a new technique will make up for their lack of composition skills and poor technique. This is obviously not true

    In fact, these techniques take a lot of knowledge and skill to do them right. Biggest problem I see with flares is that people forget about fill light and the shadow detail / contrast in the images terrible.

  17. #17
    rpcrowe's Avatar
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    Re: Backlit portraits with flare

    I like rim lit images...

    Backlit portraits with flare

    I just don't like the flare overwhelming contrast and color.

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    Re: Backlit portraits with flare

    And so do I Richard. Guess I won't be posting any of my attempts at flared portraits, for fear of being accused of 'flinging BS'! Haha! Oh well, I suppose everyone is entitled to an opinion.

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    Re: Backlit portraits with flare

    O.K., Andrew, ha-ha! If you've had as much BS flung at you as I have, you'd be tired of it as well.

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    Re: Backlit portraits with flare

    I don't think it's a fad it's just a photographic technique and it's been used for as long as people have pointed cameras. Flare isn't an evil to be eradicated by lens design, hoods and positioning the camera it is a useful tool when making the decision as to what you want the viewer to feel when they see your work.

    Not every photo needs to be pin sharp, not every photo needs to be perfectly lit, not every photo needs to follow a set of arbitrary rules. Photographs should either represent a scene/object or they should provoke an emotional response from the viewer - both if they are taken by very good photographers. The biggest problem with photographers who see the taking of a photograph as a technical process where every little detail must be correct, every shot must 'perfect' in every way is the photographs more often than not just look boring.
    I want to feel something when I view a photograph. It might be an athlete captured on top end pro kit worth tens of thousands of pounds that shows every detail, the power, emotion and dedication it has taken to reach that level of skill that pours out of the shot - or it might be a child at a sports day with the sun pouring over their shoulder, taken on a phone, but the look of sheer joy on their face as they win will override any technical shortfalls the image will certainly have.


    Photography should not be a technical process it should be a creative one.

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