BACK-LIGHTING AND SILHOUETTES — EASY PHOTO TRICKS

There are serious techniques in photography, but there are also “tricks.” I learned most of the serious stuff, but eventually I also learned a few tricks that have saved a lot of otherwise useless photographs and turned them into “art.”

Late twilight by Lake Otsego – backlighting at work

One of the very first “tricks” I learned in photography was how to create a dark frame around a picture. All you need to do is stand in shadow and shoot into light. You will create a dark “frame” around your picture. It has become a standard “thing” for me. It looks surprisingly elegant and requires zero skill.

More back-lighting

The second was in response to the bane of back-lighting. If you want decent detail on your foreground, back-lighting tends to make that difficult. For what I would assume are obvious reasons. Sometimes, you simply can’t make it work because the different between the items in front of that very bright sky are too intense to get any decent details without a lot more work than you are willing to put into that picture.

Okay — yes, it’s true. Not every single photograph is worth hours of effort. Sometimes, it’s a nice shot, but this isn’t your day to spend the afternoon messing with it to make it perfect.

For those of us who take a lot of pictures, imperfect is where most of them will be. Not every shot has to be an award-winner — and anyway, is someone giving out awards? I haven’t gotten one in years!

Date palms under a dome of sky

For this, there are silhouettes. This can really make a very crisp, clean photograph. Just don’t let too much clutter mess up your lines!

That’s it for the day. Two little tips that if you didn’t already know them, are easy and fun.

21 thoughts on “BACK-LIGHTING AND SILHOUETTES — EASY PHOTO TRICKS”

      1. Wonderful work, Mrs. A. Especially Lake Otsego..which looks like a painting. You’re not just a photographer, you are an artist!

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        1. They make shooting easier. The whole “framing dark into light” when I discovered how it worked, I was delighted. I had done it in the past, but I hadn’t figured out HOW I did it. After I realized all I had to do was stand in shadow and shoot into light … well, didn’t that simplify a lot of stuff!

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    1. Yes, twilight about 100 feet from home. I wanted to shoot at home, but it was obvious the sun was dropping very fast, so we pulled over and I took about a dozen of the best pictures I’ve ever taken. I have concluded that “luck” requires two things: having a camera with you — and knowing when to pull over, jump out of the car, and SHOOT — in this before the sun goes down. If we’d driven home, I’d never have gotten the shots.

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