Photographing a Silhouette.

Silhouettes can make extremely dramatic photographs, using shape and sometimes vibrant or saturated colour to tell a story. Photographers use them to convey drama, mystery or mood in an image. It’s usually the case that the more defined the shape is the more powerful the silhouette and the more successful the image will be. A silhouetted subject can show some detail, however the less detail that’s visible will add more drama to the image.


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Expose for the background

The primary key to a successful silhouette is backlighting. To create a silhouette, place a subject against a bright background and expose for the background, leaving the subject in shadow.

Digital cameras make it a lot easier to shoot silhouettes because you can usually see on the LCD on the back of the camera exactly how the image looks, you can then adjust your exposure accordingly.

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How to focus

Since the subject of a silhouette is in little to no light, the camera may have difficulty locking on the focus. If that is the case then you can try one of two things. You could manually focus the camera on your subject. Or you can also try to focus on the edge of the subject, where there will be more contrast. (The difference between the darkened subject and the brighter background). It’s also advisable to use as small an aperture as possible, which will help ensure your subject is sharp.


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Make silhouetted shapes distinct and uncluttered

If there is more than one object in the image that you’re attempting to silhouette, try to keep them separated. For example if you are photographing a tree and a person don’t let the person stand in front of the tree or even lean on it as this may merge them into one single shape and difficult to define. Also it’s probably best to photograph silhouetted people as profiles rather than looking straight on. This means that more of their features (nose, mouth, and eyes) are outlined and they are more likely to be recognized


Go out shoot some silhouettes have some fun!

Tony is the owner of Tony Sale Photography a much sought after wedding and portrait photographer based in Essex. He is known for his particular style of putting couples at ease and of mixing traditional, documentary and artistic genres to ensure the perfect capture of your special day.
He is also a great lover of coffee so if you fancy discussing your wedding or portrait photography over an Americano, Flat White, Skinny Latte or whatever else is going do get in touch – phone 01787 474923 or email
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