Silhouettes can pose a challenge when photographing them. Using silhouettes in photography is not that hard if you plan ahead.
You have to pay close attention to the available light or make your own. The studio is great for silhouette photography since you control all the aspects especially the lighting.
Silhouettes need not be of people, anything can be represented as a silhouette. Plants, leaves, rocks, vases, pets, people, houses ..the list goes on, although translucent flowers or petals can be a mission.
Coordinate or arrange your subject so that the light, whether strong or weak is directly behind the subject. Pay attention and pre-focus the camera to your subject, again depending on the available light.
Next set the shutter speed for the strongest light source and your subjects' shape (silhouette), will naturally block off the light source and voila....you have a silhouette.
Because the camera's shutter speed is set for the strongest light source, your subject will be underexposed. Your f-stop (aperture) will automatically be at it's smallest opening, or you can set it manually, this combination is enough to render your subject as a shape.
Make sure that the light is strong enough to overpower your subject otherwise detail will show on your subject and the result will appear as simple case of an underexposed subject. Your aim is to purposely create a silhouette, you control the image, you are the artist.
A perfect example is a photograph of a sunset. You notice how the Sun is represented in all of it's glory, but anything in between shows up as dark forms. This is the same concept in silhouette photography.
Silhouettes can also be used to set a romantic mood, such as couples in the beach. Special effects can be achieved in the studio by using a canvas with the subject behind it and light from behind. Use of color filters on the studio light(s) can render silhouettes that are surrounded by a brilliant color, a technique often used in advertising campaigns.
Be creative, little things such as toys, animal shapes, and most still lives lend themselves for silhouette photography so long as careful attention is placed to the light position, light strength and subject/light position.
A silhouette most dramatic effect, at least from my perspective, is that it opens the mind to various interpretations and lend themselves for a little mystery. Good luck and have fun.
- How to Photograph Silhouettes in 8 Easy Steps
Silhouettes are a wonderful way to convey drama, mystery, emotion and mood to the viewers of your photos and often stand out in an album because of the combination of their simplicity but also the story that they convey. I love them because they don’
© 2011 Luis E Gonzalez
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