Contre-jour (French for "against daylight") is a photographic technique in which the camera is pointing directly toward a source of light and an equivalent technique of painting. It was also used in paintings prior to its use in photography, where the shadows would fall to the left on the left, to the right on the right and forward in the lower centre. The edges of the subject would show surprising colour effects.
Contre-jour produces backlighting of the subject. This effects usually hides details, causes a stronger contrast between light and dark, creates silhouettes and emphasizes lines and shapes. The sun, or other light source, is often seen as either a bright spot or as a strong glare behind the subject. Fill light may be used to illuminate the side of the subject facing toward the camera. Silhouetting occurs when there is a lighting ratio of 16:1 or more; at lower ratios such as 8:1 the result is instead called low-key lighting.
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