Project 52: Backlight

posted in: Personal 4

I’m back for another week of my Project 52 Challenge from! This week’s theme is backlighting. I normally use backlighting outdoors, but with the freezing temperatures in Atlanta this week, I challenged myself to do some indoor backlighting.

Last week, our theme was sidelight, and I mentioned that I love to use sidelighting for indoor portraits. But when I looked through my favorite backlit images, they were all outdoor shots, with the sun low in the sky, like this one from a session I did last fall:

Child's fall portrait with backlighting | Kelley K Photography - Smyrna

Due to the cold winter weather we’re having this week, I thought I’d stay warm and really push myself to do more with indoor backlighting. I typically only use indoor backlighting for low-light silhouette (or partial silhouette) images. So I thought I’d try some more traditional backlit images with my daughter in front of a big window while the sun streamed in. (It was a “snow day” here so my daughter was home in her pajamas all morning.)

Child in front of large window | Kelley K Photography - Smyrna

They turned out alright, but I didn’t love them, so I pulled the camera out again in the afternoon tried a variety of backlighting scenes. In looking at my pictures on the computer, I started to suspect that indoor backlit shots against a window just isn’t really my style. I did take some backlit images I liked though. First was a silhouette type shot like I was already comfortable with:

Child playing piano | Kelley K Photography - Smyrna

Positioning my daughter so she had light coming in from windows behind her, but had her head in front of a dark background also worked nicely and allowed me to get some backlighting without having her surrounded by a bright window. I use this trick a lot outside but hadn’t really tried it indoors before.

Child in front of piano | Kelley K Photography - Smyrna

But this next image was my favorite all my backlighting practice this week… We moved to the front hall in our house, which had nice afternoon sun shining in through the glass panes in the doors behind my daughter, but also had some indirect sunlight in front of her from large picture windows on the other side of the house. This brightened her face up a lot and softened the light around the edge of her head, while still being a backlit picture. I think it’s a lot more “me”. (Other than those socks, that is… those are all the idea of my 6 year old fashionista!)

Child portrait with soft backlightint | Kelley K Photography - Smyrna

This was a tough but helpful challenge this week. It gave me a reason to practice some techniques I haven’t used in a while, and not rely on the same lighting I already know and love. Doing this exercise helped me see more clearly what I’m drawn to in indoor lighting and gave me some tools to make indoor backlighting work as part of my repertoire.

Thanks for reading! Continue on in this week’s Clickin’ Moms P52 challenge by visiting the Mamaleeni blog.

4 Responses

  1. Kristy
    | Reply

    Challenging but I think you did a great job.

  2. Amanda
    | Reply

    You did a great job! I really love those piano shots. And I like her bright socks, too – my 7 year old is all about bright, wild socks.

  3. Nancy
    | Reply

    Kelly, these are wonderful shots. I also really like the look of your website, it’s so clean.

  4. Michele Kendzie
    | Reply

    I like them all! But I am most attracted to the color of the last shot. Great effort you put into this!

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