How to shoot into the light
David Bigwood looks at 'contre jour' - against the light - photography and explains how selecting the right subjects can really enhance this style of image.
The first pictures I ever took were with my mother’s “Baby Brownie” camera. There was nothing sophisticated about that Kodak unit, but it worked, even though there was a piece of brown sticky paper covering a crack in the body! “Keep the sun over your shoulder” was the instruction that I - and no doubt many other budding young photographers - were told. In fact, the instruction manual said, “The sun should be behind your back or over your shoulder.” Consequently, images of my squinting sister and parents tended to be quite flat as they patiently stared into the sun, trying to keep their eyes open! But they were pictures, and how precious these tiny contact prints are now.
And it was these images which fired my enthusiasm for photography - so yet another photographer owes a debt of gratitude to George Eastman of Kodak for his Brownie series of cameras!
The “shoot with the sun over your shoulder” mantra has continued through many versions of cameras and many today still follow this advice quite successfully. However, sometimes in photography certain advice is best ignored and certain rules best broken. Shooting into the light can actually produce an image which stands out spectacularly...
ALSO IN THIS ISSUE: Successful image printing at home; Storage and data safety; In-camera creative controls; Profile - Jack Atley; Maritime Memories; Locations - Charters Towers, Qld; Fuji X-Pro 1
This story was first published in the Australian Photography June 2012 issue of Australian Photography > June 2012.