You can use different kinds of lighting to capture beautiful landscape photos. But for photographer Adam Gibbs, backlighting is one of the favorites. In this video, he teaches you how to use backlighting in landscape photography, why it is good, and how to make the best out of it.
Generally speaking, backlighting helps separate the subject from the background. The same goes for landscape photos: if your subject is lit from behind, it will have a nice background separation. Another thing is that backlight gives your subjects a nice glow, which makes it stand out in the photos.
Here’s an example Adam gives:
In the photo above, the light is soft because there’s fog, but there is also some direct sunlight. Since the tree is mossy, the light creates a “halo” around it. This, combined with the fog, creates a great separation from the background.
Avoiding lens flare
Although backlighting can look amazing in landscape photos, lens flare can be a problem. Adam gives a few solutions to help you minimize the lens flare or avoid it completely:
1. Use a lens hood: it will help reduce the sun reaching the front element.
2. Clean your lens: if you have any dirt or water droplets on the lens, make sure to clean it thoroughly. Otherwise, they will be pretty visible in your photo, and it’s better to spend a few seconds wiping the lens than hours of cleaning the photos in Photoshop.
3. Take off the UV filter: the UV filter increases the chances for lens flare to occur, so it’s best to take it off when shooting backlit landscapes. And if you are using filters, use the high-quality ones.
4. Shade your lens: use your hand or a piece of cardboard to prevent the sun from creating flare. Look through the viewfinder, move your hand or the cardboard, and see when the flare disappears.
If you want to include the sun in your image, it’s hard to avoid lens flare and visible sun rays. So, you can take multiple images: with and without blocking the sun with your hand. Later on, you can combine them in Photoshop.
Every type of lighting can be beautiful in its own way, and if you know how to use each of them, you’ll end up with some gorgeous photos. I hope you’ve picked up some inspiration and tricks for shooting backlit landscapes and using the light in the best possible way.