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.
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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.
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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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2. Choose a subject with distinct lines and shape. Your subject has to be recognizable.
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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4. Get down.
I am often on my stomach when shooting silhouette photos. This allows for less background interference with your subject.
5. Now you are ready to shoot!
When I remember, I use spot metering. Meter 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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6. Close down your aperture f/8 or smaller to add a starburst effect to your image.
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7. Step back a little to frame your subject while continuing to pay attention to distracting backgrounds.
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.
9. Silhouette photos do not have to leave the subject completely black.
Partial silhouette photos offer an almost three dimensional feel to the image.
10. Have fun with editing.
Add more saturation and contrast during post processing to really make your silhouettes pop.
Hope this gives you a little nudge and encouragement to go out and take some beautiful silhouettes. And to tell your story.