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Shooting stellar images of your couple on their wedding day doesn’t just mean capturing random scenes at the click of your camera button. As a professional wedding photographer, you know that well! Multiple factors go into creating images that stand out. And one of them is lighting. It’s important to ensure that you have the right lighting to deliver stunning images to your clients. When used creatively, lighting has the power to elevate your images from good to outstanding. On the other hand, poor lighting could, in fact, ruin an otherwise well-composed image. Think of harsh lighting and washed-out photos! When shooting your subjects directly in front of the light, backlighting is a technique that you can use to create quality images. For your help, we’ve shared the top 4 tips for shooting incredible images with backlight. Check them out!


A silhouette of a bride and groom at an indoor space with backlight at the backgroundImage Credit: ShootDotEdit Customer @erinm_photography

Although backlighting can be difficult to master at first, it is a helpful skill to have as a photographer. The more obstacles you can overcome as a photographer, the better chances that your clients will book you again or refer you to other couples to document their wedding stories.


Ensure partial coverage of the sun to avoid harsh lighting & unwanted shadows.

When backlighting your subjects, the sun does not always need to be in the full-frame of your camera. Knowing exactly how to master the sun flare look while still keeping your subjects properly exposed is not the easiest look to achieve; so start by diffusing the sun. Find a location where the sun can be partially covered by your camera, while still allowing the light to shine onto your subjects. How? Just look for spots that have buildings or trees. These elements will allow you to achieve a beautiful backlit portrait. And the interesting backdrops they create will be a bonus!


A couple posing for an engagement shoot at a streetsideImage Credit: ShootDotEdit Customer @photography_by_orlando

When it comes to backlight images, you could shoot them at any time of the day; however, shooting at certain hours of the day when the sun produces a beautiful glow can really accentuate your images. Some of the best times to capture this radiant orange glow is either in the morning after the sun rises or right before it sets as the day comes to an end (often known as a golden hour). When the sun is closer to the horizon, the glow permeates the landscape amid which you shoot your couple. As you plan engagement shoots or wedding day photography, try to include the golden hour in your schedule so that you can capture images that bask in the golden hues.


Shooting in light that is less than ideal can create an issue for properly exposing your subjects. Use spot metering to focus on your subject and get the right exposure for them rather than the background. This function is available on almost any high-quality professional DSLR camera. Spot metering is perfect for backlighting, and with a bit of practice, it can become really simple!

In addition to spot metering, try using the manual mode, rather than automatic, when focusing. Sometimes in harsh lighting situations, your camera can have difficulties in knowing where to focus, and you can end up with a blurry image. A good way of avoiding this situation is switching to manual mode. It may take you a few additional seconds to capture the shot, but knowing that your image is in focus is well worth it.


A silhouette of a couple sitting by the bonfireImage Credit: ShootDotEdit Customer @kellyiswilde

We have said this earlier, and we’ll say it again - make the flash a staple in your camera bag. We have covered several ways to use off-camera flash in previous blog posts, and when it comes to backlighting images, flash can be used in a variety of ways. Not only can it help add light to your subjects when the backlight is very strong, but an off-camera flash can also help CREATE backlight to your images!

While backlit images can be achieved without a flash, allowing the natural light to give a soft glow or hazy look to the entire image, if, however, your signature style calls for a more dramatic image, this is where a flash can really come into play. By placing one in front of your subjects, you will still retain the glow from the sun, but at the same time, the additional light from the flash will ensure that your subjects are more well-defined. Throw in a stunning pose to this composition, and it might fetch you a thumbs up from your clients as well as their friends and family when they share the pictures on social media. And when it comes to social media, we don’t even need to tell you that the more the likes, the better!

Tip: If you are shooting on a day when the sun is not visible (or even after the sun has set), you can still create a backlit image for your clients with a little help from a flash. Just place the light behind the subjects, and you’ll see how it highlights them with a gorgeous rim light.

For you to continue to grow as a photographer and diversify your portfolio, mastering lighting techniques is a must. And a sound understanding in backlight photography could help you shoot under challenging lighting conditions and tackle harsh light. If you think that you do not have enough time to learn another lighting technique, we’d recommend you to identify areas of your business that don't need your immediate attention, such as your photography post-processing or album design, and outsource those tasks. This would free up your time and give you back the hours that you can spend in mastering lighting of all kinds!

At ShootDotEdit, we are committed to helping you hone your skills so that you can grow as a wedding photographer. And we also love providing you with our professional photo editing services to lessen your post-production workload and help you focus on building your business instead. To learn more about how we can help you, check out our pricing plans.

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