How to Take Silhouette Photographs

Silhouettes make some of the most beautiful pictures. They are great because they give the picture a sense of mystery and leaves part of the image up to the observers imagination.

In simplest terms, to take a silhouette photograph you need to put the subject that you want blacked out in front of a bright light source. Then you have to make sure your camera is taking the light reading and setting the exposure from the brightest part of your picture.

Take a look at the picture to the right. This picture was taken during sunset with a rock hill and a bird blackened out. Even though you cannot see details of the bird, you can still tell that it is a bird by the shape of the black area.

Steps to take for photographing silhouettes:

  1. Choose a subject that will stand out at your when blacked out. A strong, recognizable shape will make the silhouette more interesting.
  2. Turn off your camera’s flash. If you were to use a flash, it would defeat the purpose of a silhouette as it would light up your subject in the foreground, thus not blacking it out.
  3. Use a bright light source for the background. Sunsets and sunrises and great for silhouettes.
  4. Take your light reading. Remember to expose the picture from the lightest part of the picture.

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