Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Creating Silhouettes

There are so many creative and fun ways to experiment with your photography. Creating silhouettes is one of my favorite ways to throw some creative in the mix. Whether its with your own children or during a portrait session, silhouettes are beautiful for any age and any number of subjects. Best of all, you really don't need a fancy camera or extensive knowledge of an editing program to get great silhouettes. 

Here are a few tips I've learned along with way while experimenting with silhouettes.
  • Picking a location: An open space where you can capture your subject without too many distractions. An open sky backdrop works best. The beach is an awesome location for silhouettes, but if you aren't near the beach a nice little hill or open field will work great. 
  • Lighting: The best time of day for natural light silhouettes is late in the evening when the sun is just about to go down or at least pretty low in the sky.
  • Positioning your subject: You'll want your subject to be between you and the sun, but you don't have to shooting directly into the sun, but you definitely can. I love a great sun flare! YOU will want to be down low as to make sure most of your subject is against the sky. You want to get as little of the horizon as possible.
  • Camera Settings: You really want to expose your background. If the background/sky is correctly exposed your subject will be dark. You can accomplish this by focusing on the sky without your subject in the frame, then zoom out and bring your subject into the frame Or use spot metering mode (if your camera has that option) and focus on the sky centered in your frame.
    •  I actually used Aperture Priority mode to shoot these photos. I was shooting other photos and just used my current settings adjusted just slightly. Kind of an on the fly decision to see what I could get of this VERY active toddler I was shooting. Below you can see my settings. To make this photo a little better straight out of the camera I could have definitely gone up an f/stop or three. My photo was slightly noisy and had a light post in it that I cropped out. 
Shot with Canon 7D and Tamron 17 - 50mm Zoom

  • In Photoshop (or any photo editing program): bump up your blacks and contrast. Adjust brightness to your liking. If you want to go a few more steps you can try adding a little haze or running some of your favorite actions for a little oomph! 

Get creative and never stop trying new things! 

xo Stephanie of Behind the Camera and Dreaming
Behind the Camera and Dreaming


  1. awesome tutorial! and beautiful shots!! these are great!!

  2. Nice pictures. I love, gorgeous silhouettes. Greetings.


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