Sun back lit or side lit?

Discussion in 'Portraits and Fashion' started by RaymondC, Oct 25, 2017.

  1. I just happened to be at an anniversary that had like 150 people and a group shot was done outside I chose side lit, worked OK. I was just reading a library book on portraiture and it said the sun behind the people is better since they are not squinting ... and one can let the background blow out ....

    Your view on this?

  2. Vincent Peri

    Vincent Peri Metairie, LA

    I almost never shoot portraits any more, but I think side lit to SLIGHTLY back lit is okay. I'd never shoot a portrait with the sun directly behind the subject. I always shoot with film, if that matters.
  3. Old fashioned idea -- mostly works -- ask everyone to close their eyes and relax - on the count of 5 all open eyes & smile. Also -- if you always use fill flash outdoors when photographing people in the sun, you and they will likely be pleased with results.
  4. I have a long time love affair w/ backlight. For me the sun at about 45° and just over the shoulder (about halfway between side & back) with a couple of big bounces in front is just about ideal in many cases. Sometimes another bounce from the opposite side of the sun is needed for balance.

    I'm not sure I'd be happy with sun as pure sidelight. OTOH, in a dark studio a single strobe directly to the side can be interesting. One from each side and a bit of chin fill works well.
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2017

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