A Straightforward Guide to Creating Backlit Portraits in Studio

Backlit portraits can be a great way to get a lighter, airier look. Traditionally, you likely think of them as being shot outside with the sun behind the subject, but it's just as easy to create them in the studio, and this helpful tutorial will show you how to do just that.

Coming to you from Daniel Norton of Adorama TV, this fun video shows you how to create backlit portraits in studio. Norton is using a Profoto B1X paired up with a Canon 1D X Mark II and EF 85mm f/1.2L II, though most any combination of monolight and portrait lens should work just fine. Notice that he uses the monolight without a modifier, the small, intense source mimicking that of the sun. He places this just off-axis behind the model, then uses a combination of black v-flats and white foam core to create positive and negative fill to shape the light around her. The result is an airy portrait that still maintains good contrast on the subject, helping to really accentuate her face. You can control this effect by moving the foam core and v-flats closer and farther away. Try it out for yourself!

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5 Comments

Tony Clark's picture

Less is more! I love the simplicity.

stir photos's picture

this is the first time i ever saw this dude, he's hilarious! haha.... not like, i'll tell you a joke funny, more like, keep ur eye on me type funny... if that makes sense... the video's content was cool, i'm partial to the technique based chatter/content anyway, so... but, yeah, good share.

Douglas Turney's picture

I've been enjoying Daniel's videos for awhile now. I tune in to his live feeds every Thursday.

Elan Govan's picture

Thank you, Alex. Another very helpful video. Thanks

jai jacob's picture

Love this. Thank you for posting this!