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Lighting 101 Part 3: The Back Light

Separating the subject from the background By Stephen Schleicher
Welcome to the latest installment of our Lighting 101 series. This week we come to the third light in our lighting setup, the Back light. Weve previously talked about how to light the subject, but how do you keep them from blending in with the background?

The Back light (also known as the Rim or Hair light) produces a rim of light around the subjects head and shoulders to separate the foreground subject from the background. This enhances the perception of depth in the shot.

Lets take a look at the first image. In this shot, you can see the subject has no Back light and she appears to blend into the background. This causes the image to look extremely flat and lifeless.

A dull, lifeless, flat shot.

Compare the first image with the second image that has a Back light added. Notice how the highlights in the subjects hair and on her shoulders make her really stand out from the background. This image has a lot more life added to it.

The subject with a Back light added. Notice how more depth is created in the composition.

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Related Keywords:lighting, back light, 3 point lighting, dv, video, schleicher

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