Backlighting is a technique whereby you light the subject from behind. That is, the light source (or sources) is in front of the camera but behind the subject. If the subject is opaque in nature such as the kiwifruit example you get a nice glowing effect.
You can take a couple of different approaches with this type of photography. Use available light, off camera lighting or a combination of both.
With my example here I needed a controlled environment so went with a single off camera flash triggered by a Flash Wave radio trigger. I also wanted a Hi-Key image which emphasized the dark areas of the kiwifruit slice (something a little different to the thousands of other kiwifruit images I have seen on the Internet).
I also wanted to be able to produce repeatable results with the minimum of fuss. I set about building a light table so that I could get my flash underneath the subject.
The idea that I used was not mine but a very effective technique that I have seen elsewhere. It consists of a 1kg plastic yogurt container with a clear lid.
- Buy a large tub of Yogurt
- Important! Eat the yogurt or remove it from the tub
- Wash the container
- Cut a slot in the side of the yogurt container big enough to fit your flash, but not too big.
- Put some gaffer tape over the cut edges so you don't damage your flash when inserting or removing (it can be sharp)
- Insert your Flash and put the lid on the container. Your Done
You will notice that when shooting with a bare flash you will end up with a very harsh light. Even when shooting at low power such as 1/32 power. In my case the flash head is only about 1 inch from the subject - so I really wasn't surprised.
The light can be easily softened by placing a layer or two of greaseproof kitchen paper beneath the subject on top of the lid.
So there you have it. In less than 10 minutes you should be able to produce a light table that is easy to use and gives you consistent results every time.
Of course this will only be suitable for smaller subjects, but with the same principle you could easily build a larger table for bigger subjects.