Friday, March 9, 2012

Photo Friday #7......

Mastering the Silhouette
Silhouettes are striking, they are full of mystery, they beg for you to take a second look.  They convey a simplistic beauty that draws the curious eye right in.  They typically tell a story, but because you cannot clearly see the foreground images, it's up to you, the viewer, to use your imagination to figure out the emotion and mood of the photo! 

 Here are a few tips on taking great Silhouette photos:

1. Choose a defined subject.  You want your viewer to recognize the shape that they are looking at, whether it is a body, a profile, a tree, etc....
2.  Do not use your flash.  If you do, the foreground image will be lit, and you will no longer have a silhouette.
3.  Shoot against the sun.  You want your subject lit from behind.  Typically the best time to take these type shots is at sunrise or sunset.
4.  Make sure the background is uncluttered.  If you have a lot of stuff to look at in the background the definition of your silhouette will not be as clear.  You want the viewers eye to go directly to the silhouette, no distractions!
5.  Keep the focus point on your desired silhouette.  You want the silhouette image to be super sharp, so make sure to keep the focus on that spot!

Okay, with these tips in mind, lets play!!  All of the below pictures were taken around 6:45, right at sunset.  They were also all taken at our neighborhood playground.  Remember, you do not have to go to a "special" place like the beach or a mountain top to get a beautiful silhouette photo!  Just step right outside your door and look at your surroundings......

Julia on her swing!  I literally had to lay on the ground and shoot up to get this shot!  The clouds add so much interest without being distracting!  I love how you can see her tiny profile in this shot!
ISO 640, 1/400sec at f/11, 50mm 1.4 lens

I have a small obsession with trees.  It's something about their shape and movement!  Trees are very easy to make a silhouette out of!
ISO 640, 1/1600sec at f/14, 50mm 1.4 lens

Here is the typical silhouette pose...Daddy and baby....I love how she is bending her knees to create a shape with her body!  And again....look at the clouds!!
ISO 640, 1/1640sec at f/13, 50mm 1.4 lens

On the ground again....I think some of the best shots are taken from there!
ISO 640, 1/1640sec at f/11, 50mm 1.4 lens

Daddy K working on his pull-ups!  Show off!!  Again, I love how his profile is clear and sharp!
ISO 640, 1/400sec at f/11, 50mm 1.4 lens

On all of the above pictures I used the sky as my "uncluttered" background.  And to do that I got down low, and shot up!  With this picture, I used the water as my "uncluttered" background.  To do that, I had to be higher than my silhouetted subjects!  I love how this one turned out.  Look at the texture in that water!  So beautiful!!
ISO 640, 1/500sec at f/11, 50mm 1.4 lens

Tip for the day:  
If your camera has a special setting for "silhouettes," use it!!  That's the setting I used for all of the above images!  I have also recorded the manual settings, so when I do attempt this type of photography in the "M" setting, I can study each of my photos, and learn how to set the camera appropriately for each shot!  I hope you enjoyed today's exercise!!  See ya next Friday!!


  1. What great shots! The first one is my favorite! Thank you for sharing the photo tips!

  2. What beautiful shots! The color and light is exquisite and the moments you captured are lovely. The first shot on the swing and the one of dad lifting up baby are my favorites. Wonderful photographs! Thank you for sharing.

  3. Wonderful [photographs - I adore the water shot, and the little one on the swing. Such beauty, and dream. Happy Tuesday

  4. Gorgeous color and clarity you captured in these silhouettes. I need to try this!

  5. Wow, these are so gorgeous! I love silhouettes, and you have captured them so well here!

  6. I love the first, second and last ones. The first one it's just her in a carefree world! The last one, the water makes it so much more unique and adds a bit of texture and shine

  7. these are really beautiful, great job!

  8. I have a 50mm! So that's the shutter speed and aperture setting to do silhouettes with. I always wondered. I love your photos and the post is very helpful. We have dreamy sunset here....I just have to manage to get to one but I'm usually feeding the family or washing up after dinner!

  9. Amazing captures and I appreciate the tutorial! I must try this. :)

  10. Love the very first picture! And the tips are great! [=

  11. Very nice post. I juѕt stumbled upon yоur wеblog and wanted to
    say that І've really enjoyed browsing your blog posts. In any case I will be subscribing to your rss feed and I hope you write again very soon!

    Feel free to visit my web page - game