I’ve been experimenting a lot recently with backlighting – that is, having the light behind the subject, aimed towards the camera. This is tricky and usually takes a lot of trial and error to get a pleasing effect.

In this image of the model Cara, I used a large softbox, a big light with a silky fabric to diffuse the light. Then, covering part of the light, I placed a black “flag” for Cara to stand in front of. A flag is anything that blocks light In this case, it was simply a large black piece of poster board. The effect overall is similar to windowlight, although very bright windowlight, to be sure.

Showing the large strip of white on the left side of the image goes against some of the “rules.” I liked it for balance in the image. Does it work for you? If I were to print this image, I might put a very thin black line around the whole image, to show that the white is part of the composition.

I also like Cara’s enigmatic expression.  What is she thinking? When it’s hard to tell, the viewer will typically let his or her imagination take over and infer some thought or feeling to the person. Where does your imagination take you with this photograph?


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