To take take a great photograph with beautiful backlighting there are 4 easy steps.
Select Your Location With Purpose!
First, pick your location! Keep in mind the time of day you will be shooting. Typically, I am looking to shoot in the late afternoon when I can get some nice warm light coming across the horizon into my location. I do shoot in the early morning sometimes to get nice low light! In the example above it was about 3:00 in the afternoon.
Position For The Light!
Second, I am looking to see which direction I will be facing my subject. I want the light coming from somewhere behind my subject so to get some nice rim light on my subject. See the nice rim light on the hat below?
Select Your Lens!
Third, be conscious of you lens selection. Do you want bokeh or light leaks? I shoot with primes using as wide as aperture as possible. I love the bokeh I get and it really ties into my style.
I shoot with a Nikon D700 and the images above were captured with a Niokon lens D135mm f2.0. I shot wide open.
Check For Reflected Light!
Lastly, think about the available reflected light that will be helping to illuminate your subjects face. I look for light colored walls, floors or sometimes use reflectors. I do use fill flash off camera if necessary, but usually I don’t need it shooting my primes wide open. I get enough light as long as I expose for my subjects face.
Most of all, get out there and get creative! Have some fun and experiment!