Here’s a Super Simple Way to Shoot Dramatic Backlit Portrait Photographs (VIDEO)

Daniel Norton is a NY-based photographer known for his striking portrait and fashion images, and in this quick tutorial he demonstrates one of his favorite techniques—backlighting a subject for a dramatic effect.

Norton says he typically uses this method outdoors with the sun as his light source. But in the five-minute video below, he demonstrates how to shoot beautiful backlit portraits in a basic home studio with a single strobe. As you’ll see in the video, the beauty of this technique is not only in the flattering results, but in the fact that it’s very easy to accomplish.

Norton uses a black background with black cards on either side of his model to create “negative fill,” thereby enhancing contrast and shaping his subject’s face. He employs a simple white card to bounce the light exactly where he wants it, and intentionally introduces a bit of flare for added drama.

He explains the exposure settings he uses, and demonstrates how a second white card provides a different look. Bottom line: This technique is about as simple as it gets, yet it delivers stunning results.

You can find more helpful videos on the AdoramaTV YouTube channel. And be sure to look at an earlier video we posted, in which Norton demonstrates another simple lighting setup for shooting portraits at home or on location.