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Creating Dramatic Backlight With A Single Flash

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Bryan has been a successful photographer for over 30 years, and has been teaching photography for 20 years

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Creating Dramatic Backlight With A Single Flash

A better angle on lighting leaves

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Over and over you hear me talk about taking advantage of the angle of light to emphasize texture, pattern, and form out in the world.


I particularly like playing with backlight when it comes to leaves.  The differences in direction of light make all the difference in the world.  Now, I hear you say,  "That's great Bryan, but what about those times when the sky is overcast and the natural light just isn't there??"

With only a tripod, a close-up filter, and a flash you can create that same directional light.  

Below left is the natural light shot under an even overcast sky. So, it was time to create a little more drama. I dropped the ambient light by taking the shutter speed down three stops and then used my flash to front light it, which you see below right.

 

 

As you can see, the shot is a little flat, which is what you expect to see with front light. In my many years of shooting leaves I have alway found they look the best when backlit and with a flash you can just point the light at the back and light it up. Here's what it looks like...

 

I think you'll agree that the effect is much more dramatic in this shot!  

Click here to see a video of me creating these images.

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