Backlit photos can be some of the most beautiful and dramatic shots out there, but they can also be some of the most challenging to edit. When you take a photo with the light source behind your subject, you can end up with a photo that’s too dark or too bright, with the subject appearing shadowed or washed out. In this tutorial, we’ll walk you through the steps to edit a backlit photo and bring out the best in your subject.
Step 1: Adjust the Exposure
The first step in editing a backlit photo is to adjust the exposure. Depending on the camera you used, you may have a photo that’s too dark or too bright. To fix this, you’ll need to adjust the exposure settings in your editing software. Start by adjusting the brightness and contrast to bring out the details in your subject.
Tip: Use a Histogram
To get the exposure just right, use a histogram in your editing software. This will show you the distribution of light and dark in your photo, and you can adjust the exposure until the histogram is balanced.
Step 2: Adjust the Shadows and Highlights
The next step is to adjust the shadows and highlights. When you take a backlit photo, your subject may appear too dark or too bright. By adjusting the shadows and highlights, you can bring out the details in your subject and balance the exposure.
Tip: Use the Brush Tool
To adjust the shadows and highlights, use the brush tool in your editing software. This will allow you to selectively adjust the brightness and contrast in certain areas of the photo.
Step 3: Adjust the White Balance
The white balance is an important part of editing a backlit photo. When you take a photo with the light source behind your subject, the colors can appear washed out or too warm. Adjusting the white balance will help bring back the natural colors of your subject.
Tip: Use a Gray Card
To get the white balance just right, use a gray card when you take the photo. This will help you get an accurate color reading for your subject.
Step 4: Use the Gradient Tool
One of the best tools for editing a backlit photo is the gradient tool. This will allow you to adjust the exposure, shadows, and highlights in certain areas of the photo.
Tip: Use the Radial Gradient Tool
For photos with a subject in the center, use the radial gradient tool to adjust the exposure and shadows around the subject. This will help bring out the details in the subject without overexposing the background.
Step 5: Add a Vignette
Finally, add a vignette to your backlit photo. This will help draw the viewer’s eye to the subject and create a dramatic effect.
Tip: Use a Soft Vignette
For a more natural look, use a soft vignette. This will help blend the edges of the vignette and create a more subtle effect.
Editing a backlit photo can be challenging, but with the right tools and techniques, you can create a beautiful and dramatic shot. By adjusting the exposure, shadows, highlights, white balance, and using the gradient tool and vignette, you can bring out the best in your subject and create a stunning photo. So go ahead and experiment with these techniques, and see what amazing backlit photos you can create!