Backlit Portrait

While in New Jersey recently to photograph a wedding, my girlfriend and I were at the location the day before to scout and check out the available light. As magic hour set in, I got this great shot of my girlfriend under a gazebo at the end of a jetty on the lake where the union was to take place. Sadly, on the day of, the wind was howling across the lake and the ceremony had to be moved indoors. Everyone was disappointed things worked out that way. I tried getting the wedding party out to the gazebo for pictures after the ceremony–I knew the bride really wanted the beautiful scene in her special day–but the wind was vicious and we had to head back inside.

This shot stands as the best example of the beautiful light that could have been had the wind cooperated that day. I used the camera’s spot meter to take a reading off N’s face (with her blocking the backlight), then moved to the side to let the almost direct sunlight to flood into the lens. I made several exposures with varying degrees of success and this is the one that I thought hit a nice balance of expression on N’s face and light bouncing around inside the lens. I had a friend say it looks like an album cover circa 1973. I’ll definitely take that compliment!

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