How To Photograph a Silhouette
I was in a grumpy mood, having still not thought up “the perfect photo” for the Summerfest Arts Photography competition. I’ve entered for the past three years–but it’s sort of an interesting contest. You have to take the shot on the exact same day as all the other contestants. Today was the day, and I still had no idea what I was going to photograph.
In my grumpiness, I ordered everyone to the car and announced to Buzzy that we were going to “ride our bikes in a special place!”. He dismissed my grumpiness immediately at the thought of adventure and delaying bed even longer and happily participated.
We ended up having a delightful time, I wasn’t grumpy after we got into it, and I’m excited about these images for my own family history.
I chose not to enter the competition–in spite of getting a few that I love, since the hassle of printing locally and spending an entire morning mounting and framing sounded dreadful to me. Instead, I’m glad the idea compelled me to take some shots that otherwise would have likely not happened.
Silhouettes have always been fascinating to me.
They have the ability to communicate so much despite the fact that we don’t see the details of facial features or expressions. It goes to show the power of body language.
How to Photograph a Silhouette:
1. You must place your subject in the sky. Pick a clear background or get in a very low position for the shot in order to place your subject in the sky.
2. Time of day matters. Though you can get a silhouette at any time of day, it’s easiest and most dramatic the last hour of daylight.
3. Outline and Pose are of greatest importance. There are no details of the face or expression to communicate so you will need to have intentional positioning of the body and props for a compelling outline.
4. You’ll have the most success in Manual Mode. Meter for the sky to make your subjects dark.
Brooke Snow is the Professional Photographer for her own family and an Abundant Life Practitioner. She is addicted to self help books, loves Mary Poppins, and is really great at cooking baked potatoes. She lives with her husband and adventurous son in Northern Utah.