Beginner Cat Photo Skills

How To Backlight Your Amazing Cat

Not every feline portrait needs the spotlight front and centre. Take Miranda, for instance.

This lovely shot, bathes her in the warm glow of sunlight. The sun lights Miranda’s fur with a bright halo, turning her whiskers into delicate strands of light.

How did I create this effect, which is called ‘backlight’? Let me tell you because you can do it too.

How I Created The Light Effect

As you can see, the halo of light fur around Miranda’s fur comes from me facing the sun. This is a specific move I made to surround her with light. The light itself is behind her and above.

This kind of shot can be taken with a smartphone too. I would recommend using Portrait Mode to soften the background and make the backlighting more effective.

If you try this kind of shot, make sure you move around to find the best location for your photo. Don’t just stand and take one photo – move, adjust your location and experiment. It took me a bit of stepping from side to side and,yes, I am glad Miranda sat still long enough for me to get the shot.

Miranda’s Backlit Portrait Settings (DSLR)

  • ISO 200
  • 50 mm lens
  • f2.5
  • 1/1000

Locations for Your Special Light Shot

You don’t need a special stage or studio. You can do this in this kind of area:

  • Inside your home near a window,
  • or back of a sofa,
  • or if your cat ventures onto a table,
  • or outside in a garden or catio.

The one thing you need is bright light. Yes, you can use a flash, if you have one, but my intention was to seize a natural cat moment, as most of you would want to do. So, bright but not super strong light.

In some backlit photos you might get more of a silhouette, unless you brought in a touch of fill flash as I used in Natasha’s photograph here. But, this might be perfect anyway so take a good look before you delete any photograph.

Here’s an excellent definition of what backlighting is that you may find helpful. It’s from Contrastly:

“Backlighting, defined in the simplest of ways, refers to the main source of light behind the photography subject. In other words, the main light (or one of the main lights) is positioned in such a way that it faces the camera.

The subject is then placed in the middle of the light and the camera. This creates a certain glow effect at the edges or at the back of the subject.”

6 thoughts on “How To Backlight Your Amazing Cat”

  1. Miranda is SO beauteous!
    I’ve got a few pics of M & P that are sort of like that…MInko’s were better than Pipo’s.

    I made a memento for Bailey, which I soon will post to our blog.

    Reply
  2. What a stunningly beautiful picture of Miranda! I was sad to learn of the loss of Bailey, too. I remember enjoying their earlier posts.

    Reply
  3. Love this photo of Miranda. I’ve used this technique on some of my nature shots, but never with a cat. How nice of Miranda to pose so that you could do so. 🙂

    We are really sad about Bailey going to the Bridge.

    Reply
  4. That lighting is most magical. I’m very sorry to hear about sweet Bailey, that’s really most sad.

    Reply

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