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3/4 Back Light

If you’re ever unsure about where to place fixtures in a room, a 3/4 back light is a good place to start.

The idea is to set your source slightly behind your subject so the light gradually wraps around the front of their face. The deeper tones on the near side will do a lot to make your frame more interesting.

The far side key is a fundamental lighting technique. If you look closely at any well made image, you’ll notice the light is almost always coming from slightly behind the subject with the shadows on the near side (the side closer to the camera). Don’t believe me? Get on Google and “do your own research” 👨🏻‍🔬

What you absolutely don’t want to do is front-light your subject. It flattens all of that beautiful texture and depth and honestly just kinda makes me want to throw up in my mouth. So, keep that in mind. Of course there are always exceptions, but I generally try to avoid it.

An Astera Titan Tube with a Snapgrid was our 3/4 back light key for this one. We used an Aputure MC super dim as a little eye light in the front, some more Titans in the background for color, and practicals for depth. You can’t shoot in a saloon without a healthy dose of haze.

Tyler Kaschke is a freelance gaffer with a grip truck based in Lafayette, Colorado serving Boulder, Denver, Golden, Fort Collins, Colorado Springs and the Rocky Mountain region at large.


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