Arielle Levy Photo
fashion photographer + content creator


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6 Tips for Dreamy White Backlight Photos

Olia (

White, bright, backlit photos are what makes my heart skip a beat and stare for 10 minutes. I've been getting some questions on how I get certain photos so bright and white.

Tip #1: Shoot in RAW format, don't shoot or edit in jpeg. Yes the files are huge & yes you have to open in Photoshop or Lightroom--- but these files are more sensitive to light and write in more detail. Just do it, I'm not too sure why other than the fact that we have to as photographers! ha

Lisa (

Tip #2: If you're shooting inside, bust out a reflector. They're used to bounce light, What I'll typically do is place my subject in front of a window, and bounce the light back on them. If I'm outside I usually can't use one because I don't shoot with anyone around besides my subject and I typically. If you can't afford a reflector, wear a white shirt--- BECOME the reflector ha, use a white poster board. If you're looking for a reflector, I like this one. It's a 5 in 1 reflector; so clutch on any photoshoot.

Tip #3: Bump your ISO up. ISO is basically the sensitivity to the light, the higher it is the more your camera will pick up. Some people can get pretty neurotic when it comes to photography and believe everything they read about "NEVER setting ISO above 100". Ugh, how boring can you get??? And predictable. Look unless you're blowing up your photo onto a billboard, raising your ISO and adding a small grain isn't going to harm anyone, you probably won't even see it unless you zoom in to 500% like a maniac. Which we all do, but shouldn't. Let's keep art as art and just bump the ISO up okay? Thanks. 


Tip #4: This tip I personally feel like I just learned, crazily enough-- PAUSE and stare at the sun. I get so excited on shoots that I forget sometimes to actually look around me. Expose for your subject, not your background. In turn your background will slightly or harshly blow out and you'll be left with a beautiful bright image. If you're having trouble focusing on your subject with the sun blaring behind them, use your focus points so you know where the focus is going.

McKenna Bleu

Tip #5: Personally I love shooting backlight with my Tamaron 35mm 1.8 lens. I linked the Canon version but they make other versions too! I love this lens for it's high contrast, when I up the ISO, the light rarely leaks onto my subject, it keeps it all light behind them, with just a tad bit of a dreamy glow around the hair. Perfection. Choose the right lens. Just beware it can distort from certain angles, being wide angle, so I'm on the look out for a similar sense in a 50mm, if any of you have suggestions let me know!

Tip #6: That's basically everything I do IN CAMERA and during shoot. Let's talk briefly about post editing. First don't be scared to mess around editing, no one is watching so who cares if you mess up- that's what the reset button is for, duh. Everything I learned, I learned from pressing buttons and trying things, not that even I know that much. There's always something new to be learned. In the case of backlighting, lift the shadows and bring your highlights up too. It's hard for me to give too much advice in this section because every photo is different, but play around and make art!


I'd like to hear any tips you guys have for backlighting too, I'm on a kick right now!

Disclaimer- this is not a technical blog, excuse the lack of detail


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