Tuesday Tips : Natural Backlighting


I’m constantly thinking of ways to improve my blog and overall business. Even while doing house chores or shopping, I often find myself brainstorming ideas. I receive a lot of questions from an array of fellow photographers and I’m not afraid to help at all. In fact, I LOVE helping and sharing information. Asking questions was how I got started and I’m quite thankful for those who helped me. One of the many things I feel that life is about is learning and sharing. In the words of Gandhi, “Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.” I don’t believe in being competitive, unless of course it’s friendly competition. Now keep in mind that my tips are simply the way I personally do things. There is no single right way. Maybe my way may not be technically or properly correct, but what gives? Do what you must to create the art you desire.

So the other day I was making some homemade energy bites and thought to myself, “Why don’t I post a weekly blog post answering some of the many questions I get asked?! Why don’t I share my answers?!” So then was born ‘Tuesday Tips’! I like alliteration. The other day on my Facebook page, I asked my likers if they had any questions and I received enough questions to be able to start this weekly blog post. So yay!

Ashley asked, “How do you get that gorgeous sun flare and backlight without making the persons face dark?”

First of all, thank you for your kind comment regarding my “gorgeous sun flare and backlight”. :) Make sure you are shooting in manual mode! It makes sense when you are in full control of your settings. If you’re shooting in any other mode, then your subject’s faces WILL be dark because the camera is trying to adjust to the bright backlighting. Your camera is facing directly towards the sun which is why it is trying to compensate on it’s own in other automatic modes! Manual certainly takes practice to get used to, but it’s just so so worth it. Manual has become so second nature to me now. Nowadays I can look at a room and imagine/envision the settings needed for a nice exposure. I usually keep my f-stop/aperture between 1.4 and 2.8, depending on the subject(s). I like to keep my ISO in the mid range…lets say 400 – 800, which captures more ambiance and fill light. My shutter speed really depends on the lighting situation. It could be a high number or a low number. Here are my settings in these two images:


1/640 sec, f / 2.2, ISO 640, on 85mm 


 1/640 sec, f / 2.5, ISO 640, on 85mm

I try to shoot as correct as I can in camera, so that I don’t have to spend too much time editing. But when I am editing, I edit in Lightroom, I use presets and adjust from there and I keep my shadows bright. The beauty of shooting digital is that you have the ability test the light and look back at your exposure instantaneously. So make those test shots! Shoot in RAW. Practice. Learn to fall in love with your images. Don’t be hard on yourself. Don’t compare yourself to others for that’s a negative path to take. Just grow with every new day. Flourish!





(The settings of the first image featured at the top of this post: 1/400 sec, f / 2.8 ISO, 640 on 85mm)



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  • Andrew Welch

    Thank you for the blog post and for giving me a few tips and advice this past year off and on. It has helped me grow as a photographer and enjoy the craft more and more!ReplyCancel

    • Stephanie Rose

      YAY! I’m so glad to hear. :)ReplyCancel

  • Anna Criswell

    Great post Stephanie! I’m not sure if you mind answering this or not but Is there a particular brand you shop for actions/presets at or do you create your own?ReplyCancel