I have been exploring backlight lately. Any light coming from behind the subject can be considered backlight. Backlight that is two or more f/stops brighter than the exposure on the camera will record the subject as a silhouette.

Silhouette on Pismo Beach. ©Kevin Ames

Silhouette on Pismo Beach. ©Kevin Ames

I decided to do a shoot in the studio featuring this dreamy light. I set up a couple of Chimera 82″ by 42″ V-Flats and lit them with a Dynalite studio head shining into each one. The V-Flats are placed at a 45º angle to the white wall in the background. I hung a couple of sheer curtains on a background stand cross bar behind my model Vanessa. She’s standing about three feet in front of them. The light coming from the wall reads f/22 while the camera’s exposure is f/8.0 or three stops brighter rendering the background almost white.

Vanessa Guillemette in silhouette. ©Kevin Ames

Vanessa Guillemette in silhouette. ©Kevin Ames

When Vanessa moves closer to the sheers, the huge light source wraps her in soft luminance.

Vanessa wrapped in backlight. ©Kevin Ames

Vanessa wrapped in backlight. ©Kevin Ames

Backlight is versatile, easy to find or create and lovely to photograph.


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Join the conversation! 2 Comments

  1. Any info on lighting is always appreciated !!

  2. Wow, yes thanks for sharing your lighting info and expertise! Lovely photos!


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About Kevin Ames

Photography is life. Kevin Ames is living it to the fullest. His career encompasses commercial photography, authoring books on Photoshop, Lightroom, as well as on photographing women, two magazine columns (Digital Photographer’s Notebook) in Photoshop User, (Lighting Photographer’s Handbook) in Light It! and speaking engagements in the U.S., Canada, Europe and Asia at Photoshop World, WPPI and Photo Plus Expo. Through it all he maintains his studio in Atlanta, Georgia working with clients including A.T.&T., Westin Hotels and Honda Power Equipment. His work has appeared in the Wall Street Journal, Time, Atlanta Sports and Fitness and exhibited at Atlanta’s High Museum of Art and on corporate websites, brochures and catalogs. Kevin is a Sigma Pro and Dynalite VIP. Read his blogs on: and


Gear, Lighting, Photography, Portrait, Shooting


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