with Courtney Slazinik
6 Steps to Creating a Silhouette

I used to think that silhouettes were way harder than they are! Silhouettes are super easy as long as you keep a few things in mind. Plus they are fabulous for a subject who doesn’t want to smile or look a the camera!!

Read: 10 Incredibly Easy Tips to Take Silhouette Photos

1. Get down as low as you can. This may mean that you need to lay down on your stomach in wet grass like the following picture.

2. Make sure the horizon or background do not cut into your subject so they are a big blob. This is why you need to get low.

3. Meter off of the sky right beside the sun. You do not want to meter off the sun since it can damage your lens.

4. Silhouettes are best achieved during the golden hour before sunset (1 hour before).

5. Make sure that you can see your subject. If your subject has their arm in a weird place it looks weird in the photo.
Notice how you can’t see either Ian’s or Emma’s face but a combination of the two.

In this one Emma’s arms are all crazy and it looks like she just has hands coming out of her chest.

6. If you are going to use an object be sure it is recognizable. For example, an umbrella, balloons, or a tricycle. If you can’t tell what it is it can be very distracting. Also, if you are using an object make sure it is placed well so it doesn’t look like a big circle coming out of your subject’s head like this one.

Check out how to edit your silhouette shot!

Read more: Everything You Need to Know to Capture & Edit a Stunning Sunset Silhouette

  • April 4, 2011 at 9:56 AM

    Thanks for the tips, I’ve been meaning to try this for a while! Can you recommend any spot near here that’s good for this?

    • April 4, 2011 at 11:07 PM

      The best place I have found is at Arha Beach. If you have your subject stand on the cement wall and you lay on the ground you can get a shot like the one of the family of 4! Good luck!!

      • April 6, 2011 at 10:19 PM

        Awesome! Thanks!

  • April 4, 2011 at 10:41 AM

    I already am…….it is hard not to be when you live in Florida!!

  • April 4, 2011 at 11:26 AM

    I have yet to capture a single awesome silhouette shot and have wanted to fo sooo long! This post is very encouraging and motivating! Gotta get on this;0. Thanks for the super useful tips!!

  • April 4, 2011 at 11:52 AM

    Great tips! I’ve also been wanting to do a silhouette. Hopefully we’ll have some good weather this week so I can practice. :)

  • April 4, 2011 at 12:09 PM

    Thanks for the tips now can you order us some nice weather with some beautiful sunsets?

  • April 4, 2011 at 12:38 PM

    Thanks for sharing! I haven’t given silhouette a try and definitely want to now.

  • April 4, 2011 at 3:24 PM

    I love the one under #3!!! I attempted some today.

  • April 4, 2011 at 11:43 PM

    Great tips. Thanks for sharing. I still have not done a silhouette yet. I want to so badly!

  • April 4, 2011 at 11:56 PM

    Thanks so much! This was very helpful. I’ve tried a couple of times to capture a silhouette but didn’t have any success. I’m going to try again tonight if my daughter is willing.

  • April 5, 2011 at 2:50 AM

    This is awesome. Thanks for all the great info. Can’t wait to get out there and try it…perhaps when it warms up a little!! ;)

  • April 5, 2011 at 3:02 AM

    love it. can’t wait to try this out…

  • April 5, 2011 at 12:25 PM

    Great tips! I’m always forgetting to get down low, and I think it makes a big difference. I like the new theme of the blog!

  • April 6, 2011 at 8:09 PM

    Great photos and tips! Will bear these in mind when I go on my photowalk this weekend ;-)

  • These are so gorgeous. I can’t wait to try them out! We have the Tulip Festival later this month – that would be a fantastic place to get a silhouette picture, with the fields of flowers. Wow!

  • April 11, 2011 at 5:46 AM

    oh I want to try this too. I want to try everything…can’t seem to find the time. ugh.

  • April 12, 2011 at 11:13 PM

    THANK YOU for sharing these tips. Fortunately I’ve been able to get a few good silhouettes lately, but I got lucky and didn’t know really how I got there….just trial and error, so it’s nice to have some more knowledge to feel even more comfortable doing them in the future.

    • April 13, 2011 at 1:36 PM

      I don’t know what you are talking about?? That silhouette in your 100 day post is amazing!! Just beautiful!!

  • Polika
    March 19, 2013 at 4:32 AM


  • meagan witt
    February 20, 2014 at 2:18 PM

    When you say meter off what do you mean?
    What do you want to set your white cloud balance to? shutter speed? and aperture to achieve this look?
    Thank you,

    • February 21, 2014 at 3:33 PM

      When I say meter, I mean move your ticker in your view finder to get your exposure correct. It really depends on the light available and what type of light it is that I decide what to set my white balance too. This is true with shutter speed and aperture. There is not a magic number. It all depends on the light you have available. Don’t be afraid to play with it.

  • Daralynn Lett
    February 9, 2016 at 1:38 PM

    Basically metering means to find the right setting for the sky? Then point to subject and subject will remain dark? I have never understood this…sorry

    • February 12, 2016 at 9:06 AM

      Yes, put your meter on the sky to get your settings (aperture, shutter speed and ISO) correct. Then, yes, the subject should be dark.

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