lighting how-to // backlight

lighting how-to // backlight

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Whether you’ve got one strobe flash in your bag or three, backlighting can be your ally on location. It can be used and created in a number of ways, including as an additional light source.

A backlight is basically an ancillary or secondary light source, one that’s used to complement the main light by adding a highlight or an accent to the side or back of a subject.

If you’ve got only one strobe light (also known by the brand names Speedlight or Speedlite), then using the sun as your backlight is your first step toward creating more layered, sophisticated-looking lighting. It’s also an absolutely free secondary light source. The bright, warm glow
of the afternoon sun along the side of or behind a woman’s hair can’t be beat either in color or black and white. When combined with just one off-camera strobe flash to provide illumination from the front of your subject, you get a top-dollar look with a minimal investment in gear. Your flash can then be paired with a variety of modifiers, each creating a different quality of light for your main light.

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To read the full article, launch the digital version of the June 2013 magazine.

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