Flash Photography · Photography

How to achieve this look – Backlit leaves

Hello Readers!

Recently on my trip to India, I have been taking pictures using my flash. What better subjects than leaves and buds for some backlit photographs?! Unfortunately on the day, there were no flowers, but a future post only on some of the flowers I photographed will follow. I hope you will like the explanation provided in this post.

Make a draft composition

For the Neem leaves shot, the camera was on a tripod. I made a draft composition and then removed the distracting leaves.

Kill the ambient light

Underexpose the picture by at least 3 stops to eliminate the ambient light. This results in a dark or completely black photo.

Use flash

I usually use flash in manual mode. But, on this occasion, my flash stopped working and switched to TTL mode. Place it behind the leaf for texture lighting. Remember, front lighting is flat lighting.


If there is low light, or if there are other elements between the lens and your subject, then when you are not viewing through the viewfinder, the Autofocus AF can sometimes hunt and wrongly make the subject out of focus. Remember: you are physically holding the flash at an arm’s length behind your subject while pressing the shutter button. To solve the ‘out of focus’ problem, switch to manual focus and turn the focus ring until you hear the beep. Now, when you press the shutter, the camera will not make the subject out of focus.

Note: This technique works with transparent subjects well.

Over to you:

Have you tried this technique? Please share your favourite pictures in the comments below. I’d love to hear from you.


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