XDrive Photography Learning – 17 – Rim-Light

Rim Lighting is pretty new to me. I’m so glad Raj is “limiting the session only to basics.” He said, “If you are depending on the available light then backlit conditions offer the best opportunity…” Fascinating!

Click here to learn about rim light and view Raj’s cool shots.

Here are my entries.

#1 Christmas ornament

1/80 sec, f 5.6, and iso 250

#2 Horse

1/50 sec., f7.1, and iso 100 :

#3 Water reflections


#4  Captured at a musical event


I look forward to hearing your critics and feedback, Raj. Thank you so much! 🙂

Click to learn more about rim light.

63 thoughts on “XDrive Photography Learning – 17 – Rim-Light

  1. Good morning, Amy. I want to hurry up and post my comment before reading Raj’s comment. Ha ha. Excellent photos!!!I I can see the room reflected (right word?) in the ornament. Cool. And I love the horse and the music event photos – beautiful rim light — the rim light I know at this point 😉 Water reflection photo is amazing! I don’t know if that is rim light or not. The more I learn, the less I know — it’s true.
    I hope you can sense how excited I am after reading your post, seeing your photos. Have a wonderful day.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you so much, Helen. So glad to read your feedback. I didn’t think I have any “rim light”, these are the “closest” images I could find. Glad you like it. The Last one is my favorite shot, even it’s not qualified for this topic. 🙂


  2. Thanks Amy for your contribution to the ‘Rim Light’ project. Great to see the pics.

    Pic 1: I must say it’s a great shot and very creative. Perfectly shows the room in those tiny lenses! However, to qualify as a rim light it needs the light on the rim of those glass spears. You have to make the centre portion to be dark and only the light one side so that it is shown as a crescent. Hope you get the idea.

    Pic 2: The perfect rim light picture. Has a good glow of light where it is required. You could have shot this from slightly lower angle to get connected with the horse properly. Also, a bit more closeup is recommended as surrounding is not important here. 1/50 sec bit risky for moving objects.

    Pic 3: Nice wallpaper shot by your iPhone but it’s not a rim light photo. As an abstract image, it’s a nice capture.

    Pic 4: Yes, it’s a rim light using the available strobe lights! This may be a candid shot, but the perfect shot would be the full length of the girl in portrait mode with 3 people in the background. Rest all the people are not really required. Also, remember you can also add a minor powered flash to illuminate the subject keeping the rim light. But it needs the trial and error method to get the right settings.

    This critique posted as part of XDrive’s Photography Learning sessions. Thank you for being here and it’s a pleasure to have you here.


    Liked by 4 people

    • Thank you for bringing up the topic to us and showing us what rim light is about. I truly appreciate your critic and feedback. This photo lesson series is a great way for me to learn new photo techniques and gain knowledge for improvement and photography adventure.
      Thank you for your time and effort, Raj! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • Raj, what do you mean by “you can also add a minor powered flash to illuminate the subject keeping the rim light”? For Pic 4, that is. Where is the position for this minor light? Is the purpose of this minor light to show her face? Can on-camera flash work? But didn’t you say in Pic #1 that we should make center dark? It depends on the subject?
      Your comment has answered some of my questions (thanks), but now I have a couple of new questions… 😉 Sorry.

      Liked by 1 person

      • First question, what I meant was, take the same photo with flash, but don’t overexpose the photo with flash that way the rim light will not be visible, at the same time fire the flash at low intensity or some other light that way the face of the girl as well as the rim light is visible. Camera flash intensity could be adjusted, so I meant low powered illumination.
        The second question, yes both my comments look contradicting to each other… 😀 But, in pic 1 we are missing the rim light, it’s basically a backlit picture for now. To qualify to be called rim light it has to show the lit area on the sided(rim) because of the bright centre point we are missing that rim effect. Whereas in pic 4 I thought to show the face of the girl as an alternative but to be careful not to get rid of the rim light effect while using a bright light from the flash. Hope I made my point. Photographers do great portraits utilizing the rim light. They fire flash from the front and back to create that effect. (You said you were a computer programmer, but I feel you were a criminal attorney 😀 )
        Check the third example in my post, I was asking about such effect in the pic 4. But remember it’s not a must, it’s the story you are envisioning. I am just giving extra food for thought that’s all. 🙂
        Thanks Helen for the questions, I think we need more of them..

        Liked by 1 person

        • Criminal attorney? LOL. I was just trying to follow the logic like a good computer programmer would do. 😉
          Thanks for your answer. It sounded good, but I have to read it again tomorrow to make sure I really get it.
          Have a wonderful day.

          Liked by 1 person

          • 😀 Just joking about your attention for details 😀
            Well yes that’s what makes a good professional.. yes applicable to all fields, yes much needed fro computer programmer. I am a software developer myself.. Cheers! Have a good night…!

            Liked by 1 person

        • Hi Raj, I didn’t sense the contradiction of your critics. I thought it made sense despite I don’t know about the techniques. These two had different light sources and through different angles:

          #1: I thought I saw rim of light on the left of the clear glass balls. After I read your critics, I think the problem was that the light was captured through the glass ball, which caught pretty reflections not rim light.

          #4:The sunlight was coming from her head angle, but I saw rim light on her arm, shoulder, and hair, and three people right behind her. This is my favorite photo not because it’s a good photo, it’s because it captured it by accident and so unexpected. I doubt I could capture anything like this with my canon in that situation.
          Here is what happened… I was facing the late afternoon Texas sun, I could not see anything, didn’t even see this girl (who wasn’t in front of me). I put iPhone a couple of inches above my head and tilted a little, blindly shot it and one shot only. I just wanted to capture the chaos of the event to show my friends at work the next day. The result surprised me so much, and I like the express of her under the sun rays. Btw, I posted this one sometime ago in B&W.

          Also, #2 I had to place my Canon on top of the fence to stabilize it.:)

          Thank you, Helen for your questions. Thank you again for your critics and feedback, Raj! A great topic, it looks like I am not the only one who is not familiar with Rim Light. 🙂


          • Yes Amy, the faint rim light is present on the left of those glass balls when I see it carefully after reading your comment above. But that does not get attention as the centre reflection takes much importance because of the brightness and the view inside.But technically its a rim lit picture.


  3. Pingback: XDrive Photography Learning – 17 – Rim-Light. – XDrive

  4. Amazing, what a pleasure to read this post andto see your images, Amy.
    I have never heard the the expression rim light, but it immediately rings a bell. Great and very helpful comment Raj, thanks to you both! x

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I like using rim lighting even if I didn’t know it had a name. I agree with Raj’s comments. I like the concert photo best. The water is a great abstract, another one of my favourite things to photograph.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Pingback: XDrive Photo Lesson 17 – Rim Light | HHC Blog

    • Thank you for visiting. It’s new to me. 🙂 Luckily I found a few photos in my file. The last one is my favorite one. I couldn’t see anything, not the girl due to the harsh afternoon sunlight. I put iPhone above my head and tilted a little, just wanted to capture the chaos. The result really surprised me. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I wasn’t familiar with the term rim light but am glad to know. I’ve shot some of it inadvertently. I like your entries, especially the ornament and last one of the woman.


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