Today, I’ll be showing you how a little kiss of backlight lighting can add the perfect final touch to your portraits.

Video: Refine Your Portraits With This Simple Backlight Lighting Tip

Let’s begin with the gear I’ll be using today. Keep in mind that you can use any kind of camera or flash to achieve the backlight lighting effect.

  1. Canon EOS R5
  2. Sigma Art 50mm f/1.4 lens
  3. Profoto A10 On/Off Camera Flash
  4. MagMod CTO Gel

Our models today are Taylor and Harrison. Be sure to check them out on Instagram and give them a follow!

The Before Shot

backlight lighting before
Captured at 1/800 sec, f/1.4, ISO 100

I composed this shot of Taylor and Harrison underneath this tree. With the sun coming in from behind, the tree becomes the brightest point in the frame. I framed Taylor and Harrison right in front of that bright point.

Both bright and dark looks can be styles of their own.

I kept the exposure natural, meaning not too bright and not too dark. While both of the bright and dark shots can be great shots by themselves, an exposure in the middle will create a much more natural effect with the backlight lighting.

Adding the Flash

Place the flash behind your subjects aimed up through a CTO gel.

I placed the flash on the ground right behind Taylor and Harrison with a CTO to warm it up. Then, I aimed it upward and in between the two so that it lights them evenly. I then had both Taylor and Harrison turn slightly toward the light to pick up as much of the light as possible.

backlight lighting final images
Edited with VF Presets > Mood Pack

Check out the final images after we added that touch of flash.


This backlight lighting effect works great in this scene because it appears natural. The scene is already backlit by the sun and the flash simply enhances it and adds that perfect final touch.

I hope you enjoyed this article/video! For more tips on working with flash, check out the Flash Photography Training System on SLR Lounge Premium. There, you’ll also find more courses on topics such as Wedding Photography, Business, and Lightroom Editing. For a full library of great Lightroom presets, be sure to visit Visual Flow.

Don’t miss our next episode of Mastering Your Craft on Adorama’s YouTube channel next week! If you want to catch up on all the episodes, make sure you check out our playlist!