Silhouette photos are so visually interesting. Just like images with large amounts of negative space, silhouette photos help to draw your attention to the subject/story at hand. Believe it or not, taking silhouette photos are so easy! Here are my 3 tips for taking awesome silhouette photos!
1. Put your subject in front of your light source + expose for the light
To get a silhouette image, you need have your subject between you and the light source. I love capturing silhouettes at sunset, so the setting sun is typically the light source behind my subjects. You can also place your subject in the shade with the sun behind them, or even use ambient lighting placed behind your subject to achieve a silhouette image. When you are metering for light in silhouette images, always make sure you meter for your light source (sun, lamp, window) instead of your subject. Your brighter light source will help to make your subjects silhouetted or shadowed against your light source.
2. Look for non-distracting backgrounds
If your subject is walking through thick trees at sunset, it's probably going to be pretty hard to discern your subject from the background and capture a good silhouette subject. It would definitely make for an awesome silhouette photos, but if you are wanting to capture your subject, then looking for a non-distracting or open background is going to help your subject pop.
3. Get low and shoot looking up
Here in Raleigh, we aren't surround by big open fields, mountains and hills. It's relatively flat around my neck of the woods, so getting low is a must to help create an "open background". When I'm trying to capture a silhouette image, I always try to place my subjects up above me and then I either crouch down or lay down on the ground and shoot looking up (and yes. I seriously do lay down on the ground to capture a photo).
The best part about silhouettes is that you really don't have to wait for sunset to create a image. I'm always on the lookout for moments where I can capture a silhouette. Big windows and darker rooms are perfect for creating that look! Remember, all you really need is to place your subject between you + the light source! So go out and have fun! See if you can capture a silhouette!
looking for more inspiration + tips?