In the old days of photography, Kodak’s advice about taking pictures was to shoot with the sun behind you. This was because lenses weren’t very good, and film was not very sensitive to light, so you needed lots of light on the subject. This resulted in nice, well exposed, shots of your friends and family squinting into the sun!! Nowadays, with huge advances in lens and sensor technology, you can ignore Kodak’s advice and shoot directly towards the light. It’s called “contre jour” photography. With care* you can get great images.
Here I’ve used the shape of the Millenium Bridge at Gateshead, to block the sun and give a super highlight to the image.
In some images, such as this shot of a kite at Wroughton Kite Festival, this technique gives an almost black and white effect, because you are reducing the range of tones captured.
Of course, if you convert the image to black and white, and increase the contrast in Photoshop, you can use the strong silhouettes to give a powerful composition.
Finally, even the modern-day equivalent of Kodak’s “Box Brownie” camera; a compact digital camera, performs surprisingly well for “contre jour” photography. This image of a child on a climbing frame was taken with a Panasonic Lumix FX-500.
I dropped down to get a nice low angle, and used part of the structure to prevent sunlight hitting the lens directly.
We cover this technique, and others, in our “The Creative Eye” photographic course/workshop. Have a look at our Training and Treks page for more info at www.lifestylephotos.co.uk/Training.htm
* You need to be careful with this type of creative photography to ensure that you never look directly at the sun!