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How to make a silhouette photography

How to make a silhouette photography

Silhouettes , Light , Exposure • 28 November 2018

When professionals talk about cool silhouettes, they usually advice to think in advance on the location of the object opposite any light source. Various techniques are used by different famous artists with recognizable hashtags online, landscapes and natural perfect locations.

If you are shooting a fixed object, try to find the most favorable angle or unexpected light. For example a shop led light logo can emphasize the shape and make the dark figure prominent. Keep in mind that latest smartphones are able to surprise with high quality pictures. Instead of various poses, look for a strong backlight, because it adds additional effects, emphasizing focused object.

Amazing silhouettes are known to be a great way to demonstrate all kinds of emotions to the viewer:

  • drama
  • mystery
  • sadness
  • happiness, etc.

This type of image making always stands apart in the album due to the fact that with apparent simplicity it tells us a new awesome story. It is impossible to guess a clear picture of everything that is captured, but permits to imagine, what could be the plot.

TOP-5 most popular Photography Silhouette Tips:

  • Strong image, but simple approach
  • Clear silhouettes with special effects
  • Be quick and professional
  • No flash, more poses
  • Studio silhouette hacks

Still, some basic silhouette photography tips are used all over the world to obtain professional results. The main difficulty is to choose the exposure so that the picture is exactly corresponding the idea. You might not think about it, but it is really easy to overexpose the background or miss the right moment.

There are steps how to photograph silhouettes:

  1. Find only strong objects
  2. Keep it nice and simple
  3. Separate models from each other
  4. Find sparkling rays for silhouette photography
  5. Catch the inspiring moment, be rapid and creative
  6. Illuminate the frame with a unique light
  7. Fix the exposure, become professional
  8. Come closer to get successful profile and pose
  9. Focus your frame, learning new technique
  10. Think of forms and body expressions
  11. How to photograph silhouettes in studio?

1. Find only strong objects

Choose a strong object that has a clearly well-know shape, famous or fashionable monument or building. It is important to remember that dark images do not show color and tone. That is why, it is essential to choose a shape that is easy to identify without guessing. Perfect nature spots can be a characteristic feature for each image, where colorful or black and white.

People today are the most popular theme, but sometimes trying something new can help you to discover new horizons of this art. Experiment with trees, plants, flowers, bicycles, bridges, tools, animals — anything that looks inspiring and stands out of typical snapshot.

2. Keep it nice and simple

There is no need to look for complex compositions, inventing unique approach. Everything you need already exists and is waiting for you to be captured. Objects of simple shapes are the most suitable models for these images. Keep in mind, that backgrounds have to be as uniform as possible, not to attract excessive attention of the viewer.

3. Separate models from each other


Searching for the best shot, it is easy to get lost in a huge number of options and places. It is better to avoid situations when various images of silhouettes overlap each other and lose its charm and recognition. Walk around the place you have chosen and unexpected angle may give you a great image to publish or even to promote your artistic masterclass. Models in the frame should never seem lost in the impenetrable darkness.

4. Find sparkling rays for silhouette photography

Looking for something extraordinary and beautiful, try to catch some rays. This is easily carried out by placing model directly between the camera and the sun. For such a task, only a wide-angle lens can be used, because only this type of tool can catch the moment of rays. Do not forget to shoot in RAW.

This hack is useful for post processing period. In case, you have done some small errors, which can be corrected by famous retouch applications for ipad, download the program and spend just a few seconds. Exposure, white balance and many other features can be improved after the shooting, as well skills to apply, learning how to make silhouettes.

5. Catch the inspiring moment, be rapid and creative

All process of shooting should often be done very quickly. Firstly, because the subject itself can be very dynamic and in movement. And secondly, because natural light, suitable for this kind of snapshots (sunset, sunrise) changes very quickly and you have no chance to miss it. Therefore, explore all possible capabilities of your camera thoroughly and shoot in manual mode.

6. Illuminate the frame with a unique light


Thinking of the best time for making pictures, it is good to use the “golden hour” rule. It works for all types of images and can help you get the best results, using sun as a main source of light. So, just locate the model in front of direct sunlight to obtain a clear and strong silhouette. Waking up early or waiting for a great sunset you will get necessary color temperature and low sun position

7. Fix the exposure, become professional

Silhouette photography requires precise measurement of the exposure. This is going to be done in a simple way by half pressing the button of shutter, directing the lens at the most bright part of the frame. Digital devices in such mode offer specific settings, which should should be accepted and installed. The quality picture is usually got with a high shutter speed. Turn off the flash, adding quality.

Do not permit your camera to use automatic setting for such a picture. Specific pictures need to be made in a manual mode without a flash. Dark image automatically requires an additional light source, which is a flash. Complex pictures need attention to each detail.

8. Come closer to get successful profile and pose


Use every possibility to find the best composition and angle for the shot. Come closer and move around to get the most successful solution to realize your story in one shot. Natural locations and parks offer a wide choice of point to control the view landscape for an impressive picture. Such locations will help to choose the right pose for every landscape.

9. Focus your frame, learning new technique

Manual settings permit to install a greater depth for the picture. If you do not know which is the right aperture to get maximum of the situation, than choose f16 and be sure that entire image is going to be in a focus. A foggy look will not seem an artistic image, but as a sad mistake, trying to highlight the object and editing it with existing filters.

10. Think of forms and body expressions

If you are photographing a person, try to capture him in profile or ask to spread his arms, so that the dark figure does not look like a solid block, but a body sculpture in front of a beautiful sunset. Look for as more expression as possible. Having no possibility to capture face and portrait, only body language will assist. Try also several shots from different angles, to have a chance to choose the most successful caption moment later.

How to photograph silhouettes in studio?

In fact, shooting such a picture in studio has no difference with outdoor options. In this case, the light source is replaced by a studio flash or a permanent lamp. Everything can be even more interesting, since you can use several sources for your creative idea and get an even more original and beautiful picture of a nice artistic lady or family party!

The next time you find yourself on the beach at sunset, or on the street at the moment when evening comes, remember our photography silhouette ideas, and turn typical subjects into designed masterpiece!

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