A Short Course Book
Using Your Digital Camera
A Guide To Great Photographs

The Background Light

 
Click to explore the background light.
A background light controls how light or dark the background behind the subject is. A lighter or darker background can help visually separate the subject from the background. It can also lighten shadows cast on the background by other lights. In fact, if made bright enough, it can silhouette the subject.

The background light is off to the side and lights the background behind the subject without lighting the subject itself.

The background light can be varied for different effects. When only spillover light illuminates the background (far left) it's a uniform gray. When not illuminated at all (second from left) it's black. When the background is lit by a spot it is graduated (second from right). When illuminated with a bright light it is burned out to pure white (far right).


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