I have written previously about how important the direction of the light is in your photography. Kodak’s advice in the early 20th century was to have the light coming over your shoulder. That was all well and good in the days when film wasn’t very sensitive, but today we can do the exact opposite, and it brings your images to life.
Shooting towards the light, known as “contre jour”, can bring out translucency and transparency, and add a “rim highlight” to your subjects. This passion flower leaf and fruit shows translucency on the leaf, and a rim highlight on the fruit. I held the stalk in one hand, making sure the leaf and fruit were in the sun, and held the camera up to my eye with the other. The background is a hedge in shadow, which has come out very dark. It’s a useful technique for separating the subject from the background.
This dandelion flower has some light from the front, but the real interest is added by the out of focus highlights in the background where light is reflecting off a stream. The spider is a happy bonus, as I did not see it when I took the picture! I was holding the camera quite a way away from me and using the screen on the back. It was too bright for me to see details and there were reflections off the camera’s screen.
Here the late afternoon sun is shining through some plants outside the window behind the bowl and making a dappled pattern on the table. The bowl has a literal rim highlight, and there was enough reflected light to lift the colour inside the bowl. I placed the bowl as close to the corner as I could to give the longest light line across the frame.
It’s always worth looking hard at where the light is coming from and using it to your best advantage.