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Thread: Backlit portrait

  1. #1
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    Backlit portrait

    At the suggestion of carregwen I am posting this picture for comments and critique. I saw a website where the photographer typically shoots into the sun and the pictures are awesome. I thought I'd give it try and this was the result. I had to lighten my daughter's face a bit. Carregwen suggested using a flash fill and use a larger f-stop to make sure the faces are more clear. I agree. Any other thoughts?

    Backlit portrait

  2. #2

    Re: Backlit portrait

    I know the style that you mean. Especially with children, it's really lovely. I think the ones that I know, though, wait till the sun is lower - the golden hour. The sun is very obscured behind the subjects head - does that make sense? Either that, or the sun is just outside of the frame but it gives that halo glowing hair effect.

    This is a link to one of the blog posts where she's gone really heavy with it (pointing toward the sun, I mean). Actually, it's not her best of her glowing hair shots but it's the one with the most "sun" in it.

    http://madelinebea.com/blog/2010/10/...mn-love-day-3/

    Acutally, are we worried about going blind???

    SO, I don't know. What do you think?

  3. #3
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    Re: Backlit portrait

    I think the concept and the composition are brilliant. Most folk wouldn't have placed her so far to the right of the frame. But it really, really works beautifully, particularly given that you've then got the tree balancing up the left hand side.

    I'm not a people photogtapher, but I think there's just a bit too much flare at the top of her head. The streak of light comeing down to the side of her left eye is fine. But the pretty big circular spot at the top right of her head (left hand side as we look at it) is the problem.

    But, that said, it certainly is going to be one that she'll thank you for taking in 25/30 years time.

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    Re: Backlit portrait

    Hi Thayne,

    Shots like this can work well, but there's a couple of things to keep in mind ...

    1. The amount of flare that you'll get is going to depend on how much direct sun is "peeking around the edges". It's pretty hard to get exactly right, so in circumstances like this, I'd be inclined to take a few shots whilst varying the amount of direct sun showing.

    2. Because the face is in full shadow, you run the risk of getting a lot of noise when trying to reveal the detail of the face, so a reflector or a fill flash is the best solution - but - you need to get the flash level correct; which generally requires a bit of forethought, experience, and experimentation.

    I haven't got a shot quite the same to show you, but this one is possibly a good example of what fill flash can do (without it the subject would have been nothing more than a silhouette)

    Backlit portrait

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    Re: Backlit portrait

    Quote Originally Posted by Katy Noelle View Post
    Acutally, are we worried about going blind???
    Possible solution -->

    Actually, I was a little worried about my equipment though. I have to admit I read the lens manual once... While taking this shot I remember the warning in there about pointing the lens toward the sun for too long...apparently the inside of the camera begins to feel like an ant under a magnifying glass on the same sunny day. Hopefully no one has had that experience, but if the warning is in the manual I'm guessing it has happened before.

    One of the things that bothered me about the photo was the washed out color before the software adjustment. Is that just the nature of this type of shot? I expect the fill light would help a lot of that.

  6. #6
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    Re: Backlit portrait

    I think this is a great photo. I think that the bright sun glares gives it a nice affect. I would think just metering off of the face a little more and pulling the angle of your camera slightly away from the direct sun would give you the clarity on her face yet still the effect of glaring sun behind her.

    When I was playing with back light last weekend this was my favorite shot and there is lots of lens glare. ( don't mind the outfit... she dressed herself. ) But I didn't use a fill flash or a reflector.



    Backlit portrait

    PS Not to make you jealous but I am definitely eyeing the D7000 for Christmas. Fingers Crossed that I am on the "nice" list.
    Last edited by Mikki; 24th October 2010 at 02:48 AM.

  7. #7

    Re: Backlit portrait

    Mikki

    I meant to comment on this before. I think this is a classic shot. For me it needs no adjustment at all. The outfit actually accentuates a high key 1960-70 style and it is full of life. To think my two young ladies were that small once upon a time

    Thayne

    This is way too cute. Again it is beautifully natural. I would prefer these style of shots of my kids over portrait style (dont tell Colin though).

  8. #8
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    Re: Backlit portrait

    In backlit portraits it seems you have a few challenges to overcome; the closer and harder the light source is to being in frame the greater the challenge.

    Lens flare is a serious problem which could be solved by PP but since a person is in frame much harder to do. Various techniques could be employed to minimise flare including a 'French Flag', excuse my language especially if I have remembered it wrong, but it is simply a shade just out of shot.

    Another way I've thought of but only tried on a not so good image is to use 'Scene Cleaner' in PSE. This is where you take two images slightly differently moving the flare, then choose to remove it.(Only tried with landscape and very small shift)

    Chromatic Aberration is another that is a nuisance and I found the best way to remove it is by recolouring, but this is time consuming.You can also recolour flare but this is hard where a person is involved.

    You will be using all the Ev range in your camera and since the person is in shade the image will suffer from loss of detail, but a reflector can help, any more glass in the form of a GND filter is likely to make flare worse.

    I like the challenge of shooting into sunlight but haven't tried it with a person; a good lens can go a long way into making life easier, and all the above, 'French Flag', GND filter, Reflector or flash, could be employed with a little photoshopping to get a great picture.

  9. #9
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    Re: Backlit portrait

    I love back lit shots! for this, I would reduce the exposure to the background and add a fill flash. I find most people, especially kids, don't like the glare coming from the reflector (even though I love my gold reflector for this type of shots). As far as the flare goes, I think its pretty well controlled in this shot as it is not blocking your subject. However, I do prefer flare on a diagnoal instead of almost vertical. Cool shot nevertheless.

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