It’s been awhile since I wrote a blog post. So, here goes…in this post we will look at how to take great Silhouettes.

Silhouettes

Silhouettes are a lot of fun and can give a great visual impact which we may not see often. Our eye has great ability to be able to pick up details in dark and bright areas at the same time, which cameras can’t do. You will either have under exposed (too dark) or over exposed (too bright) photos.

Anyway, to create a silhouette all you need is your camera, subject and light source. The main objective is to under expose our photos to create a silhouette.

Equipment

  • Any Digital Camera that has Exposure Compensation or Manual mode

Setup

Setup is straight forward, your subject must be situated between the camera and the light. The light should be behind the subject so that it creates a shadow towards the side the camera sees. Now your camera’s programmed instinct would be that the shot is too dark so it will adjust the aperture and/or exposure time depending upon the mode you are in to get a “good” exposure.

However, we must prevent the camera from doing this but telling it to under expose. This is where Exposure Compensation comes in very handy. Dial it down to -0.5 to -1 stop. Frame your shot and take a picture.

If you don’t get it right the first time, just adjust the exposure compensation down further. Until you get the shot you like. Then keep going, look for other subjects and move around them to get different angles and orientations.

If you don’t have exposure compensation, then you can still capture a shot like this but you have a few more steps. Take your camera and switch to Aperture Priority “A” or “Av” mode. Dial down to a small aperture like F8 or F11. Look through your view finder and check the exposure the camera is recording, you may see something like 1/60 or 1/100. This your camera’s light meter measuring the light and calculating an exposure to get a good shot.Let’s say it measures 1/100th of a second.

Switch your Camera to Manual mode, dial in Aperture of F8 or F11 or whichever value you used in Aperture Priority mode. Next you need to dial a faster shutter speed then what your camera thought. To start of, if you got a reading of 1/100th of a second, dial in 1/500th and take your shot. If needed keep increasing the shutter speed until you start to get good silhouette of your subject.

Post Processing

When you download your photos on your Computer, you may find that there are still some shadows visible in the photo, just increase the Blacks in programs like Lightroom or Aperture.

Gallery