with Courtney Slazinik
Secret to backlighting: Photography Tip Video Q & A

Now that the sun is coming out and the weather is warmer we can play around with backlighting. Today I answer two questions pertaining to backlighting. I share a trick to help you nail focus and get correct exposure.

backlighting images


“Tonight I was trying to shoot a couple with lots of pretty backlighting and sunflare. I had a lot of trouble getting the camera to focus a number of times. I switched to manual focus a few times to get that effect, but it was driving me nuts. Any ideas for working with that gorgeous sunset light?”

-Rachel Castlen

“If your subject has bright sunlight coming from behind, how do you meter it so that the subject isn’t really dark and the background really bright?”

-Jennifer Findlay

After watching the video be sure to check out these post:
6 steps to creating haze in your image.
Easy Steps to Create a Starburst Photography Effect Day or Night

Excuse the underexposed video. It’s pouring down rain today and I’m still learning how to edit video :) So much to learn!

Do you love that photography strap I have? The fabulous folks at Abie Straps are offering you a chance to get $20 off if you sign up for their newsletter. CLICK HERE.

Read more: Backlighting Photography: Master backlighting in 8 Easy Steps

  • April 12, 2013 at 1:37 PM

    Thank you! You don’t know how perfect the timing is on this for me. I just did an open sun flower shoot that really frustrated me…because of how bright the backgrounds are…it’s just not my style. :-( So I will definitely be trying your tricks. Thank you so much!!

    • Courtney
      April 15, 2013 at 4:47 PM

      Glad it helped! Oh! Sunflowers! How fun!

  • Rene Hermosillo
    April 12, 2013 at 2:50 PM

    Thank you ,thank you, thank you! :D

    • Courtney
      April 15, 2013 at 4:54 PM

      You are welcome ;)

  • radhika
    April 12, 2013 at 3:49 PM

    Thank you so much for the video. I was having the same issue focusing when there is back light. I will try this right away. You are AWESOME!

    • Courtney
      April 15, 2013 at 4:54 PM

      So glad it was helpful!

  • April 12, 2013 at 6:20 PM

    what if the subject is moving really fast? Like a toddler? Who refuses to sit still for pictures? I can’t get the subject in focus even with BBF? Would I then just keep my hand over the hood like you did to set up and try to shoot him like that? There’s no way I can keep a reflector around him the way he’s running around. Ideas?

    • Courtney
      April 15, 2013 at 4:56 PM

      I would forget about a reflector. As for focusing, it is a challenge when they move but not impossible. Make sure you are not shooting wide open and your shutter speed is fast enough. I wouldn’t keep your hand on the lens if you are trying to get backlight. Check this post out – http://clickitupanotch.com/2011/02/how-to-take-a-sharp-photo/

  • Franny Rogers
    April 13, 2013 at 2:10 AM

    Totally not related to the video, but what lens are you using in this video? And what lens is your favorite for scenes like your trying to capture with the back lighting? LOVE LOVE these videos! ;)

    • Courtney
      April 15, 2013 at 4:58 PM

      I’m using my Tamron 24-70mm in this video. LOVE this lens :) It really depends on the look you are wanting. I don’t know what lens would be my favorite for backlighting :)

  • Rachel
    April 13, 2013 at 10:22 PM

    Thank you for the shout out!! :) Great video with super helpful info, as always! I can’t wait to use this for my shoot this Friday and show you what I come up with! :) What a fun surprise seeing my desperate cry for help in today’s post. You are the best!

    • Courtney
      April 15, 2013 at 4:58 PM

      Thanks for the fantastic question!! Please share your photos from Friday on our Facebook page! Can’t wait to see them!

  • April 15, 2013 at 8:05 PM

    One of my favorite kinds of photos. With the sun in Tucson, I’ll have to keep working on this!! Thank you so much for the tips!!!

    • Courtney
      April 16, 2013 at 2:00 PM

      Thanks :) Can’t wait to see what you capture!

  • April
    April 19, 2013 at 11:57 AM

    Hi! I just stumbled upon your blog and I LOVE it. Thank you so much!
    How exactly did you get the photo above?? Is it dusk? What is the particulars of the photo, I am curious?? How do you soften things up when it is bright sunlight directly overhead? Our Easter Egg Hunt comes to mind that we did around noon this Easter…pictures are soo harsh…is it to be corrected in PHotoshop – or is there something I can do to soften the photo in bright, harsh sunlight at mid-day…??
    Thanks so much

  • Rachael
    April 26, 2013 at 9:34 PM

    What type of camera strap is that??

    Thanks for the tip with using your hand as an extender of the lens hood!!

    • Courtney Slazinik
      April 29, 2013 at 3:01 PM


      It’s an Abie strap :) There is a link in the post under the video where you can get $20 off :)

  • Lisa
    June 19, 2013 at 3:08 PM

    Thank you!!! This is very helpful! :)

    • Courtney Slazinik
      June 21, 2013 at 2:38 PM

      Wonderful! So glad to hear that!

  • Natasja Brattinga
    June 21, 2013 at 11:39 PM

    For Sure will I try this trick …Thank you so much for sharing!

    • Courtney Slazinik
      June 25, 2013 at 2:51 PM

      Have fun!

  • dew
    September 20, 2013 at 11:18 PM

    Hi thanks for this! :D I was wondering what do you mean by not shooting too wide? Should my aperture be around f2 and above? what is the setting that you would recommend for golden hour backlit shots?

    • September 24, 2013 at 10:27 AM

      Hey! Yes, shooting wide open is when you shoot at the lowest number your lens can go. Unfortunately, there is no magical setting since it all depends on the look you are trying to achieve, how many people are in the image, and what the light is like. Good luck!

  • Mackenzie White
    October 24, 2013 at 6:58 PM

    Thank you for this little tutorial

  • Wendy
    April 17, 2014 at 7:59 AM

    Hi, I love your blog! You are so easy to understand ♡ I have a couple of questions if you don’t mind. What do you mean when you talk about metering? Is that just getting the subject into focus? And what exactly is a “wide angle” lens versus just a regular lens.

  • Dana
    July 16, 2015 at 2:51 AM

    Thank you for those important tips. I love to learn more from you.

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