3 Tips For Better Silhouette Photography
Silhouette photography is a great technique to master. It’ll make your portfolio stand out from the crowd, up your Instagram game and give you a greater understanding of how to use light in your photographs. To do it well, you need to know your gear and how the light around you will impact your subject.
So, what exactly is a silhouette photograph? It’s the technique of placing the light behind your subject so that you only see their outline. The details of the subject are in shadow, so it’s important that your outline is crisp and isn’t blurry. It’s all about getting the set up for the shot just right.
If you want to get really clean and clear silhouette shots, these tips will help you to get the best end result:
1. Set Your Lights
There should be virtually no light hitting your subject from the front. This means that the flash on your camera should definitely be off. Any strobe or other studio lights you might have should also be off so that they don’t illuminate the front of your subject. It’s essentially the opposite of what you would normally do to light a subject for a photograph.
You want to ensure that the bulk of your light source is placed directly behind your subject, but isn’t creating a lens flare or other effects in your camera. Try to get your subject to block the direct source of the light when you place them.
Usually settings for a silhouette photograph is at sunset or sunrise. You get strong light coming from the horizon rather than straight down when the sun is up during the day. You can also use a window or door to let light into an interior space during the day.
2. Choose The Right Subject
A silhouette photograph is all about contrast. The idea is to get a shadowy shape that is surrounded by light. In order for your photograph to make sense to the viewer, you need to choose the subject carefully or ensure that it is posed in a way that you can see what the shape is. A clear subject on a wide, open space or in an empty door or window frame is the best way to achieve this.
When setting up your image, make sure that the shapes that your subject makes are clear. For example, if you have people in the shot, they should be standing separately or in such a way that you can easily see that the subjects are people and not some amorphous blob with limbs sticking out. The more simple your composition, the more striking your silhouette photo will end up being.
3. Set Your Exposure
The key is to put your focus on your subject to ensure that the lines are crisp and clear, but to set your exposure to your background. The subject will remain in focus but with almost no detail as the light is set to show off what is around your subject.