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10 Incredibly Easy Tips to Take Silhouette Photos
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10 Incredibly Easy Tips to Take Silhouette Photos
silhouette photos

One of my absolute favorite things to photograph is silhouette photos.  Silhouette photos instantly grab your attention because of the contrast between dark and light.   They share emotion and mystery which pulls the viewer in deeper to create a more meaningful connection to the image.  And then a story is told.  As photographers, that is our main objective.  To capture and tell a story.

No kidding! Such easy tips for capturing amazing silhouette photos. Love the photography tips from this website!

silhouette photos

Read more: How to Shoot in Manual Mode

I need to be honest.  Silhouette photos may look tricky and complex to capture.  But they are not.  Trust me.  Follow a few simple tips, practice a little, and before you know it, you will be addicted to capturing silhouettes. I promise.

silhouette photos

Read more: Basic Photography Tips

10 Tips to help capture stunning silhouette photos

1.  The background needs to be brighter than your subject. 
The main objective is to make your subject stand out.  I often take my silhouette photos right before sunset.

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Read more: 7 Tips to Take a Sharp Photo

2.  Choose a subject with distinct lines and shape.  Your subject has to be recognizable.

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3.  Your subject should be isolated. 
If there is more than one person in the picture, make sure they have a little space between them.  Also, if there is anything in the background that is blocking the light or taking attention off of your subject, move your subject to a more open area to keep the subject recognizable.

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silhouette photos

Read more: 5 Tips for Freezing Motion in Photographs

4.  Get down. 
I am often on my stomach when shooting silhouette photos.  This allows for less background interference with your subject.

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5. Now you are ready to shoot! 
When I remember, I use spot meteringMeter off of the sky, not the sun.  The harsh light from the sun can ruin your lens.  Once your meter is showing proper exposure for the sky, focus on your subject and click away.

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Read more: Changing Your Focal Point

6.  Close down your aperture f/8 or smaller to add a starburst effect to your image.

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Read more: 6 Reasons Why You Have Blurry Photos

7.  Step back a little to frame your subject while continuing to pay attention to distracting backgrounds.

silhouette photos

8.  Silhouettes can also be taken inside on a dreary day. 
Just look for a window with bright light and let your creative juices flow.

silhouette photos

9.  Silhouette photos do not have to leave the subject completely black. 
Partial silhouette photos offer an almost three dimensional feel to the image.

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10.  Have fun with editing. 
Add more saturation and contrast during post processing to really make your silhouettes pop.

silhouette photos

silhouette photos

Hope this gives you a little nudge and encouragement to go out and take some beautiful silhouettes.  And to tell your story.

Have you attempted silhouette photos? What was the biggest challenge?

Read more:
How to use Kelvin for White Balance
5 Ways to Create Catchlights
5 Reasons to Shoot in Manual Mode

24 Comments
  • Rachel
    February 8, 2013 at 8:11 PM

    Love these tips! Thank you!

    • Courtney
      February 8, 2013 at 9:32 PM

      Glad you love it Rachel! Can’t wait to see you rock your silhouettes :)

    • Shannon Heimsoth - Contributor
      February 10, 2013 at 7:31 PM

      Thank you so much, Rachel! Would love to see your work <3

  • February 13, 2013 at 12:40 PM

    Great Article. I love shooting silhouettes. here is one of my silhouettes shot https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=426808644059141&set=a.425641220842550.97157.234504223289585&type=3&theater

  • Carla
    February 24, 2013 at 3:25 AM

    Thank you so much for the silhouette tips. Have just up graded my camera to a SRL EOS 600D Cannon and can’t wait to try out your tips ;)
    Your shots are amazing :)

  • March 16, 2013 at 3:57 AM

    I love silhouette’s these tips totally help me with some of the “why” my photo didn’t quite nail it with the timing of light and seperation of bodies if you want to get it just right, thank you!

  • July 10, 2013 at 2:12 AM

    Thanks for sharing :-)have a nice day.

  • Runal
    October 11, 2013 at 2:36 AM

    Thanks that was really an amazing tip, will try this out soon…

  • Hayley
    February 1, 2014 at 10:52 AM

    I’m a little confused. I thought metering was adjusting your settings – aperture/ISO/SS to get proper exposure. Is this wrong? I thought it meant getting your ticker to the middle, maybe a step above, in order to take properly exposed pictures. But now I’m very confused!

    • February 3, 2014 at 11:39 AM

      That is correct. When you meter for exposure you are metering for those things. Was there something in the post that confused you?

  • March 16, 2014 at 8:38 PM

    I love this!! I’ve been stumbling through metering and this and even the question helped it click! Thanks :) Your website has been SO helpful! http://www.daniellegeriphotography.com

  • Aimee
    March 24, 2014 at 3:45 AM

    Great tips!! I just love silhouette photography. Here are a few of mine:

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/sets/72157635279734559/

  • April 28, 2014 at 8:46 PM

    I find this article really helpful. Thank you !

  • Reyna
    October 1, 2014 at 8:02 AM

    Thank you so much for this Tips. This is very helpful to my project. :D

  • Denise
    April 3, 2015 at 3:29 PM

    Thanks for sharing!

  • Olatunde
    September 28, 2015 at 7:44 PM

    Very help tips..Thanks

  • John McGuirk
    March 10, 2016 at 10:20 AM

    What exactly do you mean by metering? Also, would love to know the settings used to shoot some of those pictures., aperature, ISO, etc. Thank You.

  • jenny
    April 11, 2016 at 2:12 PM

    Hello!
    I still don’t understand. Sorry!
    Can you tell me what your settings where for those pictures? Do I need to set my ISO at 200 and my aperture to 2.8?

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  • Bahnisikha Ghosh
    October 6, 2017 at 4:08 PM

    Liked it…cleared to me…Thank you..

  • Joseph
    March 10, 2018 at 12:19 AM

    Very explicit, thank you…

  • jacs
    August 16, 2018 at 2:34 AM

    IMPLICIT. GIVE AN ELABORATE AND VIVID GUIDE ON SETTINGS, ALSO WHILE USING A SMARTPHONE

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