Silhouette photos help to draw your attention to the subject and story at hand. Believe it or not, taking silhouette photos is easy! Here are some tips.
Expose for the light and place your subject in front of a light source.
To get a silhouette image, you need have your subject between you and the light source. Sunset is probably the best and easiest way to achieve a silhouette, but you can achieve a silhouette anytime of day. No matter what time of day, or light source the trick is to meter for your light source (sun, lamp, window, etc.) and not your subject.
Below is an example of an before and after. I try to get images right in camera, meaning less editing time and for this image I was trying to capture some sun-flare.
Camera settings were ISO 250 - Aperture 5.6 - Shutter Speed 1/3200 sec
Background and details are important.
If you have a lot of distractions happening in your background, it's going to be hard to make your subject stand out. Ask your subjects to look at each other, you're wanting to see definition and make them pop. You won't achieve that look if they are looking straight at the camera. Get low and shoot up, for most Silhouettes you will find me laying on the ground. ;)
Silhouettes aren't just for sunset.
The best part about silhouettes is that you really don't have to wait for sunset to create a image. I'm always on the lookout for moments where I can capture a silhouette. Adding a sun-flare is a bonus! Big windows and darker rooms are perfect for creating that look. Remember, you need to place your subject between you + the light source! This photo was taken around 9am
Life happens, roll with it.
A storm was rolling in, and we thought we would chance it and get the family perfectly aligned, holding hands taking a leisurely stroll down the driveway. Mother nature had a different idea and as soon as we got to the end of the driveway, it pour buckets and we all ran for cover. I love the sweet little boy chasing his mom, and the way her hair and face is perfectly defined. A reason I love lifestyle photography is you can't pose life, and that is the reason I love this so much.
I-Phones work too.
The Beach is a great spot for silhouettes, another favorite is the aquarium. I do not take my camera with me everywhere, I use my I-phone to document a lot of memories. The same rule applies, you expose for the light - tap on the light source. I edit my I-phone pictures in Filmborn, another great app is snapseed.
Practice, practice, practice! Get out there and have fun!
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Breanna is a Portrait, Newborn, Lifestyle, Branding and Business Photographer.
Breanna Kuhlmann is a natural light photogrpaher from Fallston, Maryland, and regularly travels within Harford and Baltimore counties, including Bel Air, Abingdon, Forest Hill, as well as Kingsville, White Marsh, Baltimore, Phoenix, Towson, Timonium, Hunt Valley, Sparks and beyond.