By Goran Prvulovic
One of the most essential skillsets a photographer needs to understand is the art of making beautiful headshots. Anyone can take a picture of a person with his camera, but a true professional understands knows what it takes to truly make a picture come to life. In this particular post I wanted to go over the importance of your backlight, and how properly using this vital component of your photo-taking process can transform your pictures.
As is the case when doing studio portrait work, setup is key, alongside knowing what kind of end result you are going for. One classic technique that many photographers can’t execute properly is creating a halo effect around your model’s head. Instead of letting the subject and background just blend together, having a halo behind your model helps make them stand out and provides an illuminating effect.
By putting a grid on a flash that has been setup behind the subject, you get a beautiful halo effect that surrounds your model’s head. Whilst this is a very basic setup, we can experiment with this to tweak the halo effect into something more unique.
In the previous setup, the result was a vague background halo. We can produce an entirely different effect if we wish. Try setting up a backlight with an oval reflector behind a client, as well as a gridded light in front and on-top of your model (as well as a bounce umbrella in a similar position).
What you end up is an image where your model’s head hits the light behind it like in a solar eclipse, with a bright light surrounding the edge of your subjects head. This creates a really fascinating effect that not only looks really cool but allows you to get a good amount of facial detail in your photo as well.
Another technique for if you don’t want a halo-like effect; you can experiment with putting a backlight or flash on each side of your subject. This helps add an even rim light around the subject that will light up the edge of your model and help them stand out from the background.
Backlight techniques are just one way of tweaking your setup to create remarkable portraits, help your subject stand out from the background, and experiment with cool effects in your pictures.
Until next time,