My favorite way of doing portraits
I am not big on people photography but enjoy doing backlight portraits quite a bit. I did an article about my thoughts on backlight photography some time ago. I would love to share my favorite way of doing portraits and have added a couple of sample images below. Most of them have just been taken recently but I added a few older ones as they are my favorite portrait images. I hope you get an idea of why I love doing those backlight shots. Thankfully my wife always is happy to be my model.
A few words about my favorite way of doing portraits
I didn’t use any filter nor put any extensive post-processing work into those images. The more or less come straight out of the camera. In backlight portrait photography I love how soft images turn out. Over time I have learned when the sun is „good“ for my favorite way of doing portraits. Equally important however is the quality of the background and that’s something that took me a little longer to figure out. It seems that best for me works trees and leaves where the sun is shining through and its rays are being broken. What also works very nice is a busy city background with all sorts of light sources but since I am more in the woods than in cities I don’t get those opportunities that often.
I usually either use my 50mm f/1.8 or my 500mm f/4 lens when playing around with backlight photography. The 70-200mm f/2.8 works great again and if I would own one, I am sure the 85mm f/1.8 would be a superb choice as well. I think any lens will work I, however, prefer fixed focal lenses as they are much nicer in terms of bokeh (I think).
In portrait photography sharpness often plays a major role. However, in backlight portrait photography I think it’s not so much about a sharp image but rather the overall result. I therefore usually shoot pretty wide open when it comes down to my favorite way of doing portraits. A shallow depth of field is not a problem but something I need to support the quality of the background. I don’t use a flash and therefore often overexpose by design not to end up with a too dark face. There’s a thin line however as the background will suffer quite a bit in too much over-exposed image.
Lens flair is something that often occurs when shooting into a light source and if unwanted or uncontrolled can do visual damage to your image. However, when used on purpose and in a controlled way (I think) it’s a great element to play with.
Let me know your thoughts
I hope this article was helpful for you. If there is anything you are looking for, please let me know and I try to find examples to discuss. Feel free to use the Q&A form to submit questions.
Your support is highly appreciated
If you feel like you would like to support my work you can go and download images on Shutterstock.
Love an protect wildlife
Animals are awesome and need our protection. Please don’t hurt, kill or eat animals.