Photographing with Backlight + Sun Flare

Glowy backgroundWho doesn’t love a glowing background? There’s something so gorgeous about an abundance of light taking over a photo- casting the perfect light on your subject. To do this, place your subject in front of a light source (in this case, we used the sun) and don’t be afraid to experiment. There’s no right or wrong it’s all about placing your subject in the right place and once you have your settings in place- have your subject experiment with different poses, which allows the sun to peek through various body movements. The outcome really is beautiful and has a tendency to have a vintage and classic look.
Backlight ExampleWhen we took these photos, Kelli placed Emma directly in front of the sun and then let her pose so that the light leaked through it different ways.
Glow background 1


Glowy backgroud 2
The best time of day to experiment with glowing light is during the magic hour or anytime when the sun is lower in the sky. This makes it easier to pose your model in front of it!
Light flare 1


Light flare 2Sun flare is a natural occurance that can be unpredictible. You can find this light when posing your model in front of the sun. You’ll be able to see it through your camera’s viewfinder as you move around and find the perfect position! Try these simple techniques next time you are out shooting photos and we think you’ll be pleased with the results! Have a great weekend! Kelli, Elsie + Emma
  • I feel like I can actually use these posts since my “real camera” came in. Lol.
    Thank you!

  • This is next on my agenda! Love it!

  • Love how the dark jeans go with the light shirt against the sun light, definitely something fun to play with!

  • Just wanted to give you a shout from the valley of the sun, great information. Much appreciated.

  • Les grandes lignes du meuble, l’imprimerie lourde, qui se révèle être conçu par Phoebe Philo, Polo Ralph lauren, série 2012 début des vacances de printemps. Lorsque l’industrie de l . a . function tout entier se révèle être rattrapage Polo Ralph lauren le variety de type minimaliste plaine, Phoebe Philo, mais tourner l . a . roue vers l’autre sens, elle en forme de fleurs imprimées l’élan d’une fille great. L . a . boucle de ceinture en métal à partir des “Trois Mousquetaires” et le tissu de couleurs mixtes, not paquet hôpital psychiatrique de program, l . a . couche de cellules gliales, pantalons à jambes larges en cuir, ceinture chaîne en métal… rafraîchissante.

    En outre, il convient de mentionner que, Polo Ralph lauren, any déclenché une circumstance de poignée de principal d’embrayage sac tendance cette saison semble annoncer not nouveau sac à dos tendance se révèle être diagonale! Tendance jamais Polo Ralph lauren.

  • 苫小牧海上保安署によると、釣り客4人はいずれも登別市桜木町に住む釣り仲間で、死亡したのは自営業の中原和彦さん(64)と会社員の門田富夫さん(64)。行方不明は無職の菊池久男さん(65)。船長の沢田さんと、アルバイトの渡辺博文さん(67)は低体温症の症状があるが、命に別条はないという。

  • emma is absolutely georgous in these shots!!! youre right, just a slight change of position and the pictures jump to the next level!


  • Love it !!!
    Love the look on the whole blogg !!
    this is mine – please look and give feedback ! I totally new at this 😛

  • This post inspired me to take some of my own pictures with sunlight!
    I thought the results turned out great, thanks for the post!

  • Amazing photos! Been using that “trick” for years myself too 😉
    if only the sun would shien here in London…


  • Thank you for the tips. Such pretty photos too. xx

  • Great tutorial! I actually just took a bunch of photos with sun flare; I think it’s my absolute favorite look in photos 🙂

  • I love this style of photography. The sun adds such a wonderful light element to the photos. Great post.

  • Beautiful photos. I try to peek back at your photo tips all the time and think of them when I’m photographing!

  • Wow! I thought pictures taken with the sun in the background would turn out dark. But these pictures are beautiful. 🙂

  • LOVE glowing backgrounds!!! 🙂
    Thanks for the tips!

    Hope you are having a great weekend! With a lot of sun! 🙂

  • Great pictures, posing in front of the sun can be so trick and so amazing looking, it’s really the most natural light, and therefore the most beautiful I feel.

  • lalala LOVE this top!! Inspires me to be in the sun this weekend and snapping away! xoxo

  • such a gorgeous tutorial, clear and inspiring!


  • I’m just learning photography techniques and this is going helpful. Thanks! =)


  • I would definitely recommend using a reflector for these shots. Generally the behind your subject will make them appear dark or you have to adjust your settings and then the sky is all white, which is not good when there are great clouds that should be in the image too!
    Don’t worry about buying something expensive, just buy a piece of white foam core and hold it infront of your subject until you can see the light on their face and it will instantly brighten the image.

    I love using backlighting and sun flares in my images!

  • so beautiful light!

    with love,
    your opinion is VERY important for me!

  • These are great! When I’ve played with backlighting the subject often ends up too dark or with harsh shadows. Is it the time of day that is key or does you use certain settings?

  • Dear Elsie,

    These photos are BEAUUUTIFUL. Someone said to protect your lens from the sun by filtering your ccd? What is that? Also.. what is the “magic hour”

    Thank you, love!

    your friend Polly 😀

  • So lovely – I LOVE lens flare. Helps that Emma’s the perfect model!

    Had a little experiment with it myself on the blog recently:
    Always looking for an opportunity to reposition friends and family in outdoor shots 😉

  • Sun flares are so beautiful! It was one of the photo requests we listed for our wedding pics – they turned out amazing!
    Thanks for the tute – Emma looks so beautiful!

  • I have found a lot of the times when shooting like this, my subject is too dark, so what you can also use is a reflector to reflect some of that sunlight so your model is illuminated as well! And reflectors are easy to make: just cardboard, glue or tape, and some aluminum foil. 🙂

  • I always loved this sort of photography, but never really thought about how to achieve it. It is so simple! Thanks for the mini tutorial! x

  • Super cute! My boyfriends sister and I are signed up for a photography course some weekend soon, but I doubt they’ll teach us cute, awesome little tricks like this! Thanks for sharing 🙂

  • Love this! thanks for the tips:)

    Stephanie May*

  • Love this new series as I am a new blogger & these tips definitly help thanks Elsie 🙂 p.s i don’t think definitly is spelled like that it looks weird ha. Idk? Lol.

  • Great post and great pictures ladies! I love using the golden hour in pictures, even doing my best to use it to our advantage for my sister’s wedding, as well as mine this summer. I found these two neat apps for my Droid that let you track light, sun and moon to a freaky-accurate degree.

    TPE, or The Photographer’s Ephemeris shows you exactly how the sun and the moon move across the land, and the angles of rays. For that matter, I use it to figure out plant placement by date in the garden.

    Even more addictive is Sundroid, which can tell you the sunset, moonset, sunrise, moonrise, dawn, dusk, and golden hours, moon phase and planetary alignments for the day your grandparents got married. Both are geek heaven.

    Absolutely love the blog, and Elsie, you are so Zooey Deschanel I can hardly stand it. Love.

  • Giving my new pentax a wild work out with all these red hot tips. Thanks Girls!

  • I love the way the sun plays with colors– another fantastic tutorial, & I can’t wait for the next installment!

  • I loooove working with the sun – its my favorite prop! I shoot with toy cameras and love how unpredictable the pictures always turn out. Thanks for sharing your tips!

    xx Ashleigh

  • Great advice! I’m so excited about this photography series you’ve put together!

  • Lovely pics, thanks for the tips.

    A jewelry blog.

  • These are such great pictures 🙂 I have got to try this this weekend! Great post!!

  • So happy you have this photography series going! Such helpful tips!

    Much love, Vivi

  • These are so pretty. I love photos where the sun is getting low in the sky. It hits in such pretty ways :).

  • love this series you started. Super helpful! I love this style of photos, with a flare from the sun…so dreamy.

  • I love sun flares! Thanks for the great tips!

  • I love these posts! Puts logic behind all of the things that have happened on a beautiful accident so I can make them happen again!

  • I LOVE using backlighting. It gives photographs such a dreamy feeling!

  • Don’t forget to use a filter to protect your CCD 🙂 It’s a very important detail that you don’t want to overlook.

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