How to use the Contre-jour photography technique


Contre-jour is the effect of a bright backlight to create a silhouette that is surrounded by a soft, halo-esque light. It can add a dramatic effect to the photo by sharpening the object's borders while illuminating it from behind.

Things You'll Need

  • Camera
  • A bright light source to act as backlighting
  • Place your subject directly in front of your light source.

  • Then look into your viewfinder to align your shot. The subject should appear darkly silhouetted in the frame while still showing recognizable detail. From the border of your subject and beyond will appear brightly illuminated in the frame.

  • Adjust your shutter speed according to the amount of light present.

  • Now adjust your aperture to a higher number to make it smaller, preferably somewhere at f/8 and above. Setting the aperture smaller will help the picture have a crisp focus.

  • Now take your pictures.

Tips & Warnings

  • To avoid glares from a very bright light source it is suggested to use a lens hood to help keep them out of the picture.
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