Studying the light in clouds in nature is a good way to learn about lighting in photography. This image of a cloud formation, just after a rather violent Chicago storm is a perfect example of backlighting.
If you’ll notice, the clouds are not being lit from the front. Instead with the sun behind them, the light brings out the well-defined edges of the clouds in stark contrast to the darker foreground. The beautiful layers and shapes of the clouds become quite powerful.
If the subject was a person with this type of lighting, we might refer to it as a strong hair light or edge light. A light used to define the shape of a person’s head and make it stand out from the background.
We can learn a lot about photography lighting by taking a moment to look at how nature lights the world. Where is the light coming from? What effect does it have on the subject? How is it landing on the subject? What is it drawing attention to?
Nature is nothing short of a brilliant teacher.
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