“Look where the sun is coming from – then position yourself with your back towards it so that it light up your subject’s face.”
This was the very first piece of photographic advice that I was ever given as a child entrusted with the family’s camera for a school excursion. The intention behind it was good and in many photographic situations over the years it has actually served me well.
However…. sometimes in photography it can be easy to get trapped in a mindset that actually limits the potential of your shots. My suspicion is that many people are being limited by the above piece of advice – lighting your subject from the front and avoiding back lighting at all costs.
The problem with ignoring back lighting images is that:
backlight can add drama to an image backlit images can show the delicacy of a subject (think transparent or translucent things like flowers or insects)
backlight can help create real mood in a shot backlit images can highlight details on the edges of subjects
backlight can reveal textures that might previously have been hidden
backlit images can show off the shape and form of a subject
backlight can create shadows that add points of interest to an image